Executive Briefings

Target.com Crashes Again, Illustrating Vulnerability of E-Tailers Going Into Holidays

For the second time in six weeks, Target's website has crashed, and that is scary news for any major retailer heading into the holiday shopping season.

Most recently, Target's site went down for about two and a half hours, but a company spokesman declined to identify the problem.

On Sept. 13, 2011, Target's site went down in a well-publicized crash caused by a flood of shoppers going online to scoop up a new line of high-end clothing and home accessories. Soon after the retailer began offering products from the Missoni Italian fashion house, the site began to waver and then crashed under the pressure of so many online shoppers.

"Target obviously needs to figure out what's causing the problems with their Web presence," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "They need to put the same, or more, effort into maintaining their website as a physical store manager would to ensure his store is operating in an efficient and safe manner."

A crash at an online retail site doesn't have to happen during the holidays to really hurt, said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research.  "If approximately the same products are available at another similar [online] retailer, you could lose a customer for life ... And it's only increasingly more critical as we get closer to the big season."

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For the second time in six weeks, Target's website has crashed, and that is scary news for any major retailer heading into the holiday shopping season.

Most recently, Target's site went down for about two and a half hours, but a company spokesman declined to identify the problem.

On Sept. 13, 2011, Target's site went down in a well-publicized crash caused by a flood of shoppers going online to scoop up a new line of high-end clothing and home accessories. Soon after the retailer began offering products from the Missoni Italian fashion house, the site began to waver and then crashed under the pressure of so many online shoppers.

"Target obviously needs to figure out what's causing the problems with their Web presence," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "They need to put the same, or more, effort into maintaining their website as a physical store manager would to ensure his store is operating in an efficient and safe manner."

A crash at an online retail site doesn't have to happen during the holidays to really hurt, said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research.  "If approximately the same products are available at another similar [online] retailer, you could lose a customer for life ... And it's only increasingly more critical as we get closer to the big season."

Read Full Article