AUSTIN, Texas — Along with serving as a platform for retailer compliments and accolades, social media is also an outlet for complaints.
Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas, found that out the hard way when a Facebook group formed in response to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Mackey's opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal denouncing government's involvement in health care.
One boycott member, “Charlie,” wrote about how he has boycotted his local Whole Foods store in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
“One month Whole-Foods-free and I'm spending $200 less per month on groceries, finding everything I need in small local health food stores, veggie markets and local butchers (with occasional diversions into big grocers),” Charlie wrote. “I miss the employees of my Palm Beach Gardens store, but Mr. Mackey can just continue to keep his hands out of my pockets.”
There was also a social media backlash when Marsh Supermarkets, Indianapolis, abruptly pulled a $10 coupon off its Facebook page.
The offer, good for $10 off an order of $10 or more coupons, was to have run through Aug. 8 but was rescinded July 31.
Marsh said it made the decision because the coupon was being copied and distributed in an unauthorized manner.
Marsh even used social media to apologize for the situation, tweeting, “Our recent $10 Facebook coupon has left us red in the face and many of our loyal customers angry. We are learning. We are truly sorry.”
Jim Hertel, managing director of Willard Bishop, Barrington, Ill., applauds Marsh for trying a social media promotion, even if it didn't go as planned.
“It was a good idea that got out of control,” he said, adding that he hopes it doesn't prevent other retailers from experimenting in the social media world.