t has been a number of years since the Victoria’s Secret site was down due to the huge number of people who wanted to see the live introduction of its new lingerie line. It raised some doubt about whether the internet was the perfect ecommerce and marketing venue. But, as web hosting became more sophisticated, those problems seemed to fall away. Companie like Akamai seemed to solve the problems of web hosting and content transmission over the internet.
This holiday season has delivered a bit of a blow to the consumer’s confidence in the interent as the idea shopping center. Wal-Mart’s site was down for much of the day after Thankgiving. This was surely not what the struggling retailer needed. It posted a drop in same-store sales for November.
Amazon’s site was also down for part of the Thanksgiving shopping week.
Both outages were blamed on unanticipated spike in traffice. Of course, the hosting architecture of these sites and others is supposed to keep that from happening.
There are some online shoppers who will not be returning to the Wal-Mart site, at least this shopping season. They went somewhere else to make their purchases. Or, they are worried that if the site does not work, perhaps the “back end” of the system is flawed and they will not be sent what they could order after the Wal-Mart site came back up.
Either way, ecommerce has done a nice job of shotting itself in the foot.
Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at [email protected]. He does not own shares in companies that he writes about.
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