Loyalty & Rewards

Bloomingdale's Loyalty Program Snafu Costs Thousands

Every loyalty program member is used to the drill: 10 percent off here, $25 off there. But a batch of Aug. 14 emails Bloomingdale's sent to its loyalty program members had some more eye-popping offers in store.

The retailer accidentally dished out complimentary shopping sprees to a handful of consumers last week, when a glitch in its system mistakenly converted the Loyallist program's points to dollar amounts.

It didn't take long for the retailer to realize its mistake, but the glitch wasn't caught swiftly enough, as several loyalty program members managed to shop up a storm in the meantime. According to BuzzFeed, one shopper left a brick-and-mortar location in Manhattan with items including a $10,000 pair of diamond earrings, a $5,000 watch and a Louis Vuitton bag — a caboodle which was all free of charge thanks to the shopper's whopping $25,000 credit (which was reportedly the top amount awarded).

Plenty of others also bit at the tempting offer, and the site and store obliged — at first — with the seemingly legitimate purchases. However, all good things must come to an end, and Bloomingdale's has since taken action and canceled pending Web orders.

“A small subset of Bloomingdale’s Loyallist participants were accidentally issued rewards gift cards with amounts that were clearly incorrect,” a Bloomingdale's spokeswoman told BuzzFeed. “The company caught the mistake last week and is re-issuing replacement gift cards with correct amounts. The company is in contact with its customers and has apologized to those affected.”

As for the shopper who brought home the diamond earrings, Bloomingdale's reportedly gave him a call the next day asking him to return the merchandise. In exchange for the return, Bloomingdale's has reportedly offered him a $100 gift card. And if the diamonds and goods don't make it back to inventory he will supposedly be booted from the loyalty program, but it's unclear if heavier repercussions can or will be sought.

This month appears to be a rough one for Macy's and Bloomingdale's, as its Q2 earnings reflected a sales slump.

“We are disappointed in our second quarter results, which were impacted by a variety of factors, both internal to the company and in the macroeconomic environment. We expect an improvement in trend beginning in the second half of 2015 based on a range of promising new strategic initiatives, including those initially announced in January, which we believe will transform our company in the years ahead,” said Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren.

Surely, tossing around a couple thousand dollars isn't helping drive revenue, but the company is hoping that its omnichannel efforts will hold the key to brighter quarters ahead. And for Macy's, its Plenti loyalty program has also served as a bright spot, with more than 7 million customers enrolled in it.

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