I often assist companies with their eCommerce sites. With my extensive retailing background I am able to consult on not only the technical aspects of online retailing but also the legal, ethical and moral ways to do business.

With this in mind, lately I’ve seen a trend where desperate times call for desperate measures. The abundance of social media businesses are hooked into, it becomes very easy for businesses to post misleading bait advertising to get people to their sites.

A recent example of this was a site that promoted a ‘$1 Sale’. This generated a lot of interest (naturally) with facebook shares of the post announcing the sale hitting fever pitch. However on closer examination the sale was actually ‘from $1’ and it wasn’t a sale so much as a link to an eBay auction where items started at $1. The execution of this social media campaign was terrible and met by many angry customer comments. They all felt like their trust had been betrayed. Like they had been lied to. And they had!

This particular retailer make a rookie mistake - they treated their customers like idiots. Like fools. Like people that would get sucked into a $1 promotion. ‘Tricking’ your customers is no way to do business in the online world. Customers are savvy, sophisticated, educated and not at all wanting to have their time wasted.

Would it have been so terrible to put the actual promotion in the advertising post? Something like - ‘Don’t miss out! - Auction - Items Start at $1 - Starting in 2 hours’. Everyone gets the honest pitch. The honest offer. And it would have been more successful.

Treat your online customers and social media followers like they are intelligent people that can make a decision about your business and offers based on honest facts. They will appreciate it.