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By Elizabeth Harper, dealnews contributor
Do you guys remember New Coke? No? Well, there's a good reason why: when a current-generation product achieves monumental popularity, its successor very well may not. After all, why would consumers shell out for an upgrade when their current iteration is the bees knees?
On the technology front, Windows 8 has been a solid flop. Again consumers have asked themselves why they should pay to upgrade to Microsoft's new tablet-inspired OS when Windows 7 works just fine. Unfortunately Windows 8 isn't the only victim of its own (former) glory: here are nine products and business initiatives that consumers deemed #fail.
Television-makers have been pushing 3D as the future of TV for years now, dutifully rolling out bigger, better, and more expensive 3D HDTVs on a regular basis. The only problem? Consumers are generally happy with the current quality of their setups. Moreover, beyond being inherently more expensive, 3D TVs require consumers to buy additional, expensive equipment. Notably 3D HDTVs rarely ship with enough 3D glasses for a full family viewing party, and those of which initially launched with competing formats (active shutter glasses vs. passive 3D glasses). As such, it's easy to see why consumers haven't bitten, and with sales flat Sony has finally conceded that 3D is "not hugely important" to consumers while Samsung admits demand has been underwhelming.
In 2008, Walmart surveyed customers asking whether they'd like less clutter in stores. When customers answered yes, Walmart cleared out space and reduced its inventory. But while customer satisfaction rates shot up, sales plummeted — the cost of lost sales has been estimated at $1.85 billion. Walmart was quick to undo Project Impact's changes return to offering a broader selection of products — complete with cluttered aisles.
While the Nintendo 3DS started off slow and suffered from some of the same lack of excitement that 3D HDTVs saw, after Nintendo slashed its price 3DS sales skyrocketed to 31.09 million units sold worldwide to date. Unfortunately the same can't be said for the Wii U. Not only has it repeatedly missed sales expectations, EA has said it is not making any new Wii U games at the moment. What's more, Nintendo is bowing out of E3 next month with no major press event, which to us sounds like the console that the company once posited as for hardcore gamers doesn't stand a chance against PS4 and Xbox 720.
Apple used to partner with Google to provide maps for the iPhone and iPad, but with iOS 6, Apple kicked Google out and launched Apple Maps instead. Yet Apple Maps wasn't quite what consumers were hoping for: it lacked certain features users had been accustomed to and more obviously, it misreported locations and suggested driving into water or down airport runways. The map app went over so poorly that Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly apologized for it and even suggested users download competitors' apps.
Though fair pricing sounds good on paper, JCPenney's attempt to implement it last year failed famously. Instead of relying on sales to bring in customers, JCPenney's set "fair" prices that it claimed were the best it could offer. But bargain-minded consumers didn't bite, and took their wallets elsewhere. After a management shake up, the new-old board apologized and went back to its former sales-driven ways — but it may be too little too late for JCP.
The latest in the BlackBerry lineup eschews the physical keyboard for which BlackBerry is known, and instead opts for a more iPhone-like, keyboard-less experience. But do smartphone buyers accustomed to iPhone and Android have a compelling reason to jump to BlackBerry? The answer seems to be no, with initial Blackberry Z10 sales labeled "anemic" by analysts.
In 2012, Verizon's Share Everything plan and AT&T's Mobile Share plans were the talk of the cell phone world. While either are great for families who want to share a pool of minutes, texts, and data, these shared plans are also more expensive than individual plans, which Verizon has done away with completely. Customers have shown just a lukewarm reception, too, as many folks have to pay more for the same services.
This collaboration from Holiday 2012 brought high-end designer names to Target shelves. But both the quality and style of the collection were questionable, and higher Neiman Marcus prices didn't fly with Target's budget-minded customers. How bad was it? Products started being marked down after just three weeks on store shelves.
Windows 8 isn't the first Microsoft OS to flop. Windows Vista performed so poorly that even today, 23% of Internet users are running Vista's predecessor, Windows XP, even though Microsoft stopped supporting the 11-year-old operating system. Vista got a big thumbs down from consumers mostly as a result of its considerable hardware requirements (which made the software sluggish), its high price (though it was cut after launch), and numerous software and hardware compatibility issues. Microsoft learned from the experience however, and its follow-up, Windows 7, was a hit.
So what might be the next big fail in the retail market? Only time will tell. In the meantime, do you, dealnews readers, have any tech and retail fails that would round out our list to make it a Top 10? Sound off in the comments below.