Online Retailers See Unprecedented Traffic for Cyber Monday Sales
Following a surprisingly successful Black Friday, in which retailers saw a small gain in sales despite preparing for record-low numbers of shoppers, Cyber Monday bargain hunters are running into problems as online retailers' servers succumb to unprecedented traffic levels.
Black Friday is the unofficial kick-off to the Christmas shopping season, and Cyber Monday immediately follows after the weekend to jump start the online shopping season with massive deals on electronics, games and other popular products.
Shoppers were also focused on bargains and smaller-ticket, practical items like blenders, apparel items such as sweaters and video games, as they worry about layoffs, tightening credit and shrinking retirement funds.
Even online spending, once a bright spot in retailing, has been hit hard by economic woes in recent months. ComScore, an Internet research company, reported Sunday that online spending was up a modest 2 percent for the combined Thanksgiving Day and Friday, compared with the year-ago period.
Perhaps retailers weren't fully prepared because Black Friday e-commerce for 2008 rose only 1% from last year.
StorefrontBacktalk has been doing a great job of keeping tabs on which websites have crashed, how long they've been down for, and when they get back online.
Sears had problems on Black Friday due to "higher than anticipated peak volumes," GAP was down today with a "We're sorry" page due to "unprecedented levels of traffic," and Victoria's Secret was unavailable for a full two hours. Williams-Sonoma, Dell, Home Depot, PCMall, and CompUSA also ran into Cyber Monday issues, according to SFBacktalk.
Most online retailers are running 24-hour sales for Cyber Monday, so there is definitely a sense of urgency in snagging those great bargains. Not only will hot products sell out quickly, but the sales are running for a very limited time.
Stay updated on retailer website status, sales and deals, and coupon offers using NowPublic's Scan tool.