The website for Target, one of the largest retailers in the U.S., almost crashed on Cyber Monday, due to a huge number of bargain hunters attempting to access the site simultaneously. To manage the deluge, the store set up a queue reminiscent of in-store Black Friday lines, in which Web customers were required to wait behind others who were already shopping.
Cyber Monday has been billed and marketed as the anti-Black Friday, the day when savvy Internet shoppers can avoid the headaches and long in-store lines of the previous holiday weekend and instead take advantage of the big sales from the comfort of their couch or work desk.
Alas, this Cyber Monday did not live up to its promise for customers of one huge U.S. retailer, Target, as, when attempting to access the store’s website, they were ironically forced to wait on line — online. That’s because the equivalent of a Black Friday stampede occurred at 10 a.m. Monday when too many bargain hunters attempted to enter the website’s virtual store doors at the same time.
Expecting to be met with a bevy of great discounts and promotions, potential Target shoppers were instead greeted with an image of a red traffic light accompanied by the message: “Please hold tight. So sorry, but high traffic’s causing delays. If you wouldn’t mind holding, we’ll refresh automatically and get things going ASAP.”
By just midday, according to the company, traffic on the site had already doubled that of the formerly most busy day in Target website history. A spokesperson for the company insisted that the website hadn’t technically crashed: “Target.com is not down,” explained Molly Snyder. “We continue to receive and process thousands of orders from guests who are shopping the entire site and taking advantage of the discount coupled with free shipping. We apologize to guests who experience any delays, we appreciate their patience, and encourage them to try again in a few minutes by refreshing their browser.”
The reason for the unusually high traffic is most likely tied to the nature of Target’s Cyber Monday promotion this year. In addition to deeply discounted specific items and free shipping, the store is offering a blanket 15 percent discount off almost any item sold in the store. In fact, Tech Times named Target’s Cyber Monday sale as the number one best Cyber Monday deal of 2015, based on shoppers’ ability to essentially create their own sales by choosing practically any item sold at the retailer at an instantly discounted price.
By mid-afternoon, our numerous attempts to access the Target website were all successful, although it’s possible that as reports of the crash circulate, consumers previously unaware of the site-wide one-day discount may want in on the deal and overwhelm the site once again.