2016 April Fools Day in e-commerce

We looked at this year April 1st campaigns and found some great things to share with the e-commerce community. Let’s see the jokes of online shops and learn something new thanks to each one of them!

Never plan updates, important news or features roll-out for April, 1st

Why? Because, first of all, the users could be confused, as it’s hard to understand whether it’s a joke. What is more, if the things go wrong, confusion could be the least unpleasant feeling your customers experience.

Etsy was unfortunate to catch a bug on April 1st, and the users got angry, because the bug didn’t let them either shop or serve the clients. The company hasn’t reported on this for several hours:

Etsy April Fool's
Involve colleagues and execs for bigger impact

Your customers will see that not only your PR/marketing department did something conventional on April, 1st. Show you’re involved! A good example is the video Zappos posted on April Fool’s, where its executive talks about accidental removal of Zappos CEO and announces that the company is seeking for candidates to this position. He’s really serious:

Please watch this statement from Zappos Executive Fred Mossler on the accidental removal of CEO, Tony Hsieh.

Posted by Zappos.com on Friday, April 1, 2016

Think twice before using a brand name

A prank about H&M launching a collection inspired by Mark Zuckerberg was a success. As its creators stated, they got more than half a million website visits and 500+ publications in 24h. Many people believed that it was real, and many people believed that it was created by H&M, so now the page creators have removed any mentions of this brand (no info about whether the authors did it themselves or were asked to do this).

Make sure other brand mentions won’t be confusing:

Mark Zuckerberg

Give a hint it’s a joke

Well, you never know when people are going to believe you, especially if it’s an online campaign. People forget that it’s April 1st so often! If your April joke is what can actually be true and is not extremely absurd, make sure that you have a statement on your page/email/social media post.

Some people actually believed the previously mentioned H&M campaign is a true one, so there’s a note in the footer:

stating-joke

Here’s another example from social media. Bed, Bath & Beyond posted the first comment saying it’s a joke for everyone to see.

April Fools

Make sure the joke won’t hurt or insult anyone

This year Google prank went completely wrong: they added a ‘drop the mic’ button to the email interface. Clicking it sends your message and a mic-dropping Minion GIF to the recipient, and stops their replies appearing in your inbox.

The thing is, many people got into trouble by accidentally hitting this button or not knowing how it actually works. Whatever you do for April Fool’s, make sure it won’t cause any trouble to your customers. If you’re not sure, test the joke on your friends and colleagues and collect some feedback from them.

Drop the mic

If you fail (we hope you won’t), apologize

Google took actions for deleting the prank button rather fast and published their apologies. The team also explained where they went wrong and what they learned from this case. Although people got seriously hurt and the apologies won’t help them, still it’s a must step in any fail case.

google-apologized

Share pranks of your office

Not planning anything special for your company? Alright, that’s perfectly okay if you don’t have time for a proper April Fool’s campaign. You can share how you and your colleagues were pranked this day – that’s what Mark Zuckerberg and Rakuten did.

It’s safe to say that all employees were 5 minutes late to work today trying to find a working door… We also got a great workout! #AprilFools #prank

Posted by Rakuten.com on Friday, April 1, 2016

My team jokingly calls my conference room the “aquarium” because the walls are all glass so people can see what I’m…

Опубликовано Mark Zuckerberg 1 апреля 2016 г.

A simple promo will do

If you don’t have resources for creating a good prank, just run a promo campaign. People are actually expecting offers and discounts on this day!

Happy April Fools Day! Use promo code: NOJOKE30 to save 30% at www.cafepress.com. Full details on the promo here: http://bit.ly/nojoke30

Posted by CafePress on Friday, April 1, 2016

Use April Fool’s hype to draw attention to social projects

April 1st doesn’t mean you actually have to laugh and joke all the time. Use the buzz and traffic spikes to remind your customers about the social or charity work you’ve been doing, or share info about foundations you’ve been supporting. Many companies use April Fool’s PR campaigns to draw attention to important society issues:

Welcome a pet to your family through adoption! Meet pets looking for their forever home at your local Petco store this weekend: http://bit.ly/AdoptionPetco(Photo: Maggie Luhu)

Posted by Petco on Friday, April 1, 2016

Jump on latest news, memes and facts

Asus posted a video about a ‘new’ smartphone which can charge up a Tesla car. The thing is, Elon Musk has announced a new Tesla Model 3 right before the 1st of April.

Using well-known facts in your jokes gives your customers a feeling of understanding the essence of the joke and the pleasure of seeing something familiar.

Create a landing page for your prank

The thing is, a landing page is way better than a social media post. Why? Because it gives you some great long-term opportunities.

First of all, your campaign can be a great benefit in terms of link building – your joke is very likely to be shared and linked to.

Secondly, the page can actually convert or at least send traffic to your store.

Thirdly, a social media post will get lost, and in a couple of months it will be impossible to find it. With a link and a landing page (or possibly a blog post) people will have the opportunity to find it if they need.

See how Duolingo uses a landing page on a subdomain to share its April 1st joke. Notice that the page has several call to actions, which lead to the company’s front page.

Duolingo Pillow tIt’s OK to ingore April Fool’s

In fact, lots of e-commerce companies and online stores didn’t do anything special for this day, and it’s a good decision if you feel like an April Fool’s campaign is not a good solution for your business strategy right now.

What were your fav e-commerce campaigns for April 1st, 2016? Please share your thoughts in comments.