Amazon offers Nintendo Wii’s, fails to deliver?

  • November 19th, 2006

UPDATE: New York Times interview with Missing From Internet: Avid Shoppers’ Sharp Elbows [Screenshot or Print Version]

November 19th has come and, for the most part, past. While I admit to having passed on the idea of acquiring a slick Sony PS3 ($500) console, my goal was to end the day with an even slicker Nintendo Wii ($250) console to toy with during this coming week. Unfortunately, there are no Wii delivery confirmation emails in my inbox. Rather, all that is left from today is frustration with an online service which I have grown quite attached to and reliant of. That service being Amazon.com.

When the Nintendo Wii was announced to have a tentative launch date of November 19th, gaming fans rejoiced and planned their schedules accordingly. In order to guarantee one of the limited release date units, gamers anticipated long lines snaking far beyond the sight of the front doors of electronics stores. I, however, opted to try my luck using a different route. One which would allow me to relax comfortably at home with nothing more than a reliable internet connection and Amazon.com.

I submitted my email for Amazon’s announcement list concerning the availability of the Wii console and received the following message one week prior to the official launch day:

The Nintendo Wii will be available for purchase on Amazon.com on 11/19, Sunday morning (PST). We will be limiting purchases to one per household and we anticipate that we will sell through our inventory very quickly […] We expect to receive periodic shipments of the Wii from Nintendo throughout the holidays and we will post availability updates on the product detail page as well as in the customer discussions on the Nintendo Wii product page.

Disgruntled customer am I? Not at all. Frustrated? Quite a bit. Amazon has offered pre-orders on electronics – requesting payment information including automatic updates concerning product availability and ship dates. Their handling of the Wii launch was nothing short of unspectacular – nothing that I would have expected.

  • Where were the pre-orders?
  • No accurate corrections sent to patient customers looking for updates
  • CSR’s continually informing customers over the phone that the unit would be made available – “just keep refreshing”
  • Actual Wii unit availability – limited. How limited?
  • Deletion of approximately 600+ comments from customer discussion seeking answers.

It is difficult to continue being a loyal Prime customer only to see potentially strong launch dates crumble into dust. Simple economics. A high demand was anticipated. A little more professionalism to sort out unit availability – prior to launch times – including email announcements would have gone a long way to retain loyal customers. Amazon is now reporting that the initial stock was sold out in less than a minute. Believable? That’s for others to decide. I know for a fact that I’ve used Amazon for pre-orders of high demand devices, what would make this release any different?

In hindsight, the chances of netting a console while waiting outside would have been more favorable.