Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Three Times Typos Cost Businesses Big Bucks

Sheet of paper reading "Allways chek for speling erors"Ever made a typo you regret? We've all been there. Maybe your boss became Brian instead of Bryan in that email you sent this morning. Maybe you added a few extra letters to a report you were working on when you dropped your coffee mug on your keyboard. Maybe you used the wrong "your" in an email to your one coworker who was an English major.

These typos are no biggie. You can just shake it off and move on. But other times, typos are a BIG DEAL. Sometimes they cost you money — and lots of it. Don't believe us? Here are three times when businesses had to shell out some cash to fix some not-so-little typographical mishaps.

A Lottery With the Best Odds Ever

Several years ago a dealership in Roswell, NM decided to try hosting a lottery to generate some buzz and give sales a little pick-me-up. The plan was that the dealership would send out 50,000 scratch tickets, and one lucky person would get a $1,000 cash prize. But after the marketing company made a little oopsie and printed 50,000 winning tickets, the dealership found itself on the hook for $50 million.

Marketing on a 'Tights' Budget

UK-based e-tailer tightsplease.co.uk is a perfect example of how a small typo can have a major impact on profits. Tights Please's online sales were cut in half as the result of a category page displaying "tihgts" instead of "tights." The company realized just how much money the spelling mistake had cost when the company's revenue per visitor doubled after the error was corrected. Recognizing the value of error-free copy, Tights Please started a new campaign asking consumers to spot typos on its site. For every error spotted, the business offered to donate £1 to charity. 

L.L. Who?

Vanity numbers can be amazing for making your company stick in people's minds and encouraging people to call — but not if you misprint the number. Clothing retailer L.L. Bean learned this lesson the hard way when it used the toll-free prefix 800 instead of 877 in the number LLB.KIDS. As a result, a company in Virginia started getting lots of orders for kids' clothing. Eventually L.L. Bean bought the number from the other company, but it cost a pretty penny (actually more like millions of pretty pennies).

Sometimes typos happen. We're all human, after all. But it never hurts to have a few pairs of eyes double and triple check anything with words, dollar signs or phone numbers on it. Catch mistakes before they're published to save yourself some embarrassment, lost sales and money.

Have you ever seen or heard about a disastrous typo? We want to know! Share your story in the comments. 

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