A week ago, Target’s web site went down for the second time in six weeks, and unlike the first time when Target was launching a big promotion, it doesn’t appear that there was a really good reason for it.
According to an article on Computerworld, the company confirmed that the site went down for two and half hours last Tuesday, but company spokespeople declined to say why. It’s hard to blame them. The outage had to be embarrassing, but every company should know by now that transparency is all important in these instances.
Regular readers may recall we covered the first outage back in September. At that time, Target had just switched over site management from Amazon Web Services and was having a promotion for a new low-cost clothing line from the Italian fashion designer Missoni. Apparently people were so excited at the prospect of low-cost designer clothing they they flooded the web site with so much traffic, it took the web site down and left a lot of angry users in its wake.
The Computerworld article goes onto quote Dan Olds, an analyst from The Gabriel Consulting Group, who said that Target needs to get on the ball and start stress testing the web site befor the upcoming holidays or they are going to have some serious issues.
Let’s not forget folks we are into November and that means that Black Friday, which marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, is just a few short weeks away. That Olds suggests you start checking your web site now shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s advice we offered in this space just a couple of weeks ago in the post, Time to Tune Your Web Site for the Holiday Shopping Season.
As I wrote at the time, if you have a good sale that nobody can access, it could do more harm than good. It’s a sentiment echoed in the Computerworld article by Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, who warns if a customer can find the product elsewhere, you might have lost them for good.
That means Target needs to get it together pretty quickly because it usually offers some great Black Friday deals, and those folks who would rather take their chances on the web site than the store will surely be unhappy if they can’t get in or worse, the site is down for any period of time.
Target took a calculated risk when it moved its web site after 10 years with Amazon Web Services. It put the onus completely on the new staff to make sure the web site was running smoothly. Now it needs to do all the necessary work to ensure the site can take the holiday rush or risk putting the most lucrative shopping time of the year in jeopardy.