Blog November 23, 2015

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Web Fiascos

Thanksgiving is just days away! Do you know what that means? No, not turkey or football. SHOPPING! Thanksgiving weekend is the biggest shopping weekend of the year and more customers turn to the online route. Experiencing a security, stability, or accuracy issue can make or break this “Superbowl” of the online business world. This post takes a look at a few of the more memorable issues in recent history.

Some very unhappy customers
One of the more dreaded and classic examples is the website outage.  In one 2011 case, a large global retailer had a down website for more than 3 hours on Black Friday. Customers had trouble logging in, empty shopping carts, and experienced broken checkout pages. When they were  finally able to get on a functioning site, most items were already sold out. These disappointed customers turned to social media and online forums to vent, creating a loud and lasting PR problem for the retailer.

A sale that’s a little too good to be true
Another well-known e-tailer experienced a glitch in their price comparison software in 2014. Because of the glitch, thousands of products were available for sale for just pennies. Many of the products were shipped before the problem was even uncovered. This not only affected the e-tailer, but the many small businesses that supplied most of these items because the e-tailer did not provide compensation.

A run on the bank
A Scottish Bank had many problems one Cyber Monday in 2013. A computer glitch resulted in many of their customers’ bank accounts being emptied. Unaware of the problem, some of these customers overdrew their accounts while shopping for the holidays. The glitch also affected ATM machines and the bank’s mobile app. Not only did this affect Cyber Monday shopping, it affected customers’ ability to put food on the table.

Website on a rampage
Another large retailer oversold items at Black Friday prices on their website one year, but their inventory could not support the number of items sold. To make up for this problem, they compensated customers with inventory at the sale price when the items were back in stock. Unfortunately, the damage was already done because these items were needed as timely holiday gifts.

With online shopping increasing each year, it is critically important to maintain a site that can handle big fluctuations in activity, and do so accurately. If you’re uncertain about your site’s reliability & scalability or experience unexpected issues when the rush hits, feel free to contact us. Happy Thanksgiving and happy shopping!

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