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09. January 2014

5 Notable Ecommerce Site Crashes of this Past Holiday Shopping Season

 

<p style="text-align: center;"><img class="size-full wp-image-10840 aligncenter" src="https://cdnetworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/website-crash-error.jpg" alt="website crash error" width="400" height="300" /></p>
The holiday shopping season shifted into full gear this past holiday season as consumers packed into stores on Black Friday to get their hands on the hottest deals.  However, it wasn’t just the brick and mortar shops that benefited. Shoppers are now, more than ever before, are going online to purchase their holiday gifts.  <a href="http://www-01.ibm.com/software/marketing-solutions/benchmark-reports/cyber-monday-2013.html">Statistics show</a> that online sales for Cyber Monday this year grew by nearly 21% over 2012, and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down.

What does this mean for websites? The importance of a secure, fast, and engaging <a href="https://www.cdnetworks.com/solutions/ecommerce/">online shopping experience</a> is now more important than ever…and unfortunately, some sites were unprepared for the online holiday rush. Let’s take a look at five notable website mishaps that occurred this past holiday season and how they impacted sales and the customer experience.

<a class="blue_btn" href="https://www.cdnetworks.com/resource/empowering-ecommerce-through-fast-website-performance/" target="_blank">Download the Whitepaper, Empowering Ecommerce Through Fast Website Performance</a>

<strong>Walmart</strong>

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-10826" src="https://cdnetworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/wal-mart-one-hour.jpg" alt="Wal-mart one hour sale" width="180" height="100" />

After all the turkey and pies were gone Thanksgiving night, <a href="http://www.geekwire.com/2013/walmarts-website-stumbles-thanksgiving-traffic/">internet users flooded</a> a specific portion of the Walmart site with hopes of taking advantage of the “One-hour In-Stock Guarantee” program. The program, which is designed to offer shoppers vouchers with codes that can be redeemed for temporarily out-of-stock products, crawled to a snail’s pace leading up to, and through most of Black Friday, leaving many customers frustrated.

Users trying to access the In-Stock Guarantee program were placed into virtual waiting rooms and in some cases, received notifications to return to the site later in the weekend. A Walmart spokesperson claimed the website performed well overall during these two days, but as we have seen in the past, slow websites can lead to a <a href="https://www.cdnetworks.com/blog/why-web-performance-matters-for-ecommerce-webinar/">decrease in eCommerce sales</a>.

<b></b><strong>Belk</strong>

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-10828" src="https://cdnetworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/belk-logo.jpg" alt="Belk Logo" width="180" height="68" />

As more and more shoppers are moving online, the number of major retailers with an online presence is also growing. Just like in the brick and mortar shopping environment, some are better prepared to handle door busting mobs and some are not.

Following Thanksgiving, Belk customers rushed to the company’s site with the intent to capitalize on several Black Friday deals, many were frustrated with the repeated crashes.

As a result, Belk not only lost customers due to an unresponsive site, but their reputation was harmed as frustrated customers flooded the company’s Facebook page to voice their opinions.

The site’s failures even led to customers using a competing brand to get their holiday shopping done. As one angry customer wrote on the Facebook page, “Oh, well, I ordered at Amazon.com since Belk wasn’t able to provide service or merchandise.” These kinds of public complaints could be much more costly than just one lost sale, as existing customers or prospects could be driven away from future purchases.

<strong>Future Shop</strong>

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-10829" src="https://cdnetworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/future-shoip-logo.jpg" alt="Future Shop Logo" width="180" height="68" />

Future Shop is one of Canada’s largest consumer electronics retailer, was also ill prepared for the holiday shopping traffic. As reported on Black Friday, traffic overload likely tied up the server, making the site unreachable for visitors. Similar to what happened to Belk, site visitors didn’t hesitate to express their dissatisfaction. In a Facebook post reporting the issue, other customers bashed the company and even suggested other sites that were up and running.

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-10833" src="https://cdnetworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/future-shop-fb-posts.jpg" alt="facebook posts about Future Shop" width="468" height="120" />

<strong>Motorola</strong>

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-10831" src="https://cdnetworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/motorola-logo.jpg" alt="Motorola Logo" width="180" height="68" />

Motorola Mobility was planning to offer a limited amount of online shoppers the opportunity to purchase a new smartphone off-contract at a $150 discount on Cyber Monday, but a swarm of customers <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57614300-94/motorola-delays-moto-x-cyber-monday-deal-after-site-crash/">rendered the site unusable</a>.

Rather than ignoring the issue, Motorola responded quickly, releasing a series of statements across various channels to not only apologize, but <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/moto-xs-botched-cyber-monday-deal-rides-again/2013/12/04/f817d93e-5cf0-11e3-95c2-13623eb2b0e1_story.html">extend and expand</a> the original Cyber Monday deal.

The company announced they would double the amount of phones available at the discounted price, while adding an additional promotional day that was not previously scheduled. This customer service effort could have potentially saved Motorola from losing a number of customers and showed a good will effort.

<strong>RBS</strong>

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-10830" src="https://cdnetworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/rbs-logo.jpg" alt="RBS logo" width="180" height="68" />

Site crashes on eCommerce sites aren’t the only thing that can put a halt to online shopping. Thousands of Cyber Monday shoppers struggled to complete their check-out process after an <a href="http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/companies/cyber-monday-shoppers-hit-by-rbs-banking-outage/352251.article">IT glitch at RBS</a> hit banking transactions. Once again, frustrations were expressed through social media, as one Twitter user tweeted “Lost the chance of getting Cyber Monday deals thanks to the glitch.”

Companies need to be prepared for an influx of traffic to their servers during the holiday season, and lapses in technology during these times can become extremely detrimental to customer satisfaction.

Large online retailers need to <a href="https://www.cdnetworks.com/blog/learning-from-the-past-tips-for-e-commerce-sites-this-holiday-season/">be prepared</a> for the spike in traffic that is likely to occur, especially in the days following Thanksgiving. As the five examples above indicate, failure to properly prepare could result in website slowdowns, or in some cases, crashes that can negatively impact the bottom line and customer satisfaction. As <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/RightNow/2011-customer-experience-impact-report">statistics show</a>, 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.

For more information on the impact of crashing or slow eCommerce sites, take a look at one of our <a href="https://www.cdnetworks.com/blog/how-much-is-each-second-worth-in-ecommerce-check-out-these-15-stats/">previous posts</a>.

<a class="blue_btn" href="https://www.cdnetworks.com/resource/empowering-ecommerce-through-fast-website-performance/" target="_blank">Download the Whitepaper, Empowering Ecommerce Through Fast Website Performance</a>

However, it wasn’t just the brick and mortar shops that benefited. Shoppers are now, more than ever before, are going online to purchase their holiday gifts.  Statistics show that online sales for Cyber Monday this year grew by nearly 21% over 2012, and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down. What does this mean for websites? The importance of a secure, fast, and engaging online shopping experience is now more important than ever…and unfortunately, some sites were unprepared for the online holiday rush. Let’s take a look at five notable website mishaps that occurred this past holiday season and how they impacted sales and the customer experience. Download the Whitepaper, Empowering Ecommerce Through Fast Website Performance Walmart After all the turkey and pies were gone Thanksgiving night, internet users flooded a specific portion of the Walmart site with hopes of taking advantage of the “One-hour In-Stock Guarantee” program. The program, which is designed to offer shoppers vouchers with codes that can be redeemed for temporarily out-of-stock products, crawled to a snail’s pace leading up to, and through most of Black Friday, leaving many customers frustrated. Users trying to access the In-Stock Guarantee program were placed into virtual waiting rooms and in some cases, received notifications to return to the site later in the weekend. A Walmart spokesperson claimed the website performed well overall during these two days, but as we have seen in the past, slow websites can lead to a decrease in eCommerce sales. Belk As more and more shoppers are moving online, the number of major retailers with an online presence is also growing. Just like in the brick and mortar shopping environment, some are better prepared to handle door busting mobs and some are not. Following Thanksgiving, Belk customers rushed to the company’s site with the intent to capitalize on several Black Friday deals, many were frustrated with the repeated crashes. As a result, Belk not only lost customers due to an unresponsive site, but their reputation was harmed as frustrated customers flooded the company’s Facebook page to voice their opinions. The site’s failures even led to customers using a competing brand to get their holiday shopping done. As one angry customer wrote on the Facebook page, “Oh, well, I ordered at Amazon.com since Belk wasn’t able to provide service or merchandise.” These kinds of public complaints could be much more costly than just one lost sale, as existing customers or prospects could be driven away from future purchases. Future Shop Future Shop is one of Canada’s largest consumer electronics retailer, was also ill prepared for the holiday shopping traffic. As reported on Black Friday, traffic overload likely tied up the server, making the site unreachable for visitors. Similar to what happened to Belk, site visitors didn’t hesitate to express their dissatisfaction. In a Facebook post reporting the issue, other customers bashed the company and even suggested other sites that were up and running. Motorola Motorola Mobility was planning to offer a limited amount of online shoppers the opportunity to purchase a new smartphone off-contract at a $150 discount on Cyber Monday, but a swarm of customers rendered the site unusable. Rather than ignoring the issue, Motorola responded quickly, releasing a series of statements across various channels to not only apologize, but extend and expand the original Cyber Monday deal. The company announced they would double the amount of phones available at the discounted price, while adding an additional promotional day that was not previously scheduled. This customer service effort could have potentially saved Motorola from losing a number of customers and showed a good will effort. RBS Site crashes on eCommerce sites aren’t the only thing that can put a halt to online shopping. Thousands of Cyber Monday shoppers struggled to complete their check-out process after an IT glitch at RBS hit banking transactions. Once again, frustrations were expressed through social media, as one Twitter user tweeted “Lost the chance of getting Cyber Monday deals thanks to the glitch.” Companies need to be prepared for an influx of traffic to their servers during the holiday season, and lapses in technology during these times can become extremely detrimental to customer satisfaction. Large online retailers need to be prepared for the spike in traffic that is likely to occur, especially in the days following Thanksgiving. As the five examples above indicate, failure to properly prepare could result in website slowdowns, or in some cases, crashes that can negatively impact the bottom line and customer satisfaction. As statistics show, 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service. For more information on the impact of crashing or slow eCommerce sites, take a look at one of our previous posts. Download the Whitepaper, Empowering Ecommerce Through Fast Website Performance

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