Can Target.com Handle Black Friday?

Target, who has struggled at times to keep their new Target.com website up and running properly, is about to go face to face with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Target’s CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, said in a conference call with investors yesterday that his business and technology teams are “working tirelessly” to fix issues with Target’s website.

The problems with Target.com began in late August, immediately after Target took over the management of their website from Amazon.com. The very first day their new, self-managed, website was online it was plagued with errors and sluggishness.

A few weeks later, upon the launch of the Missoni for Target collection, the website completely crashed under the load of traffic.

According to Steinhafel, the amount of traffic that day was unprecedented, “Missoni demand created online traffic that outpaced any Black Friday or Cyber Monday in our history, putting a great deal of stress on our newly launched online platform. While we didn’t anticipate putting our new site through such a dramatic test at such a young age, we are quickly moving forward to make improvements, applying what we’ve learned from the experience to implement hundreds of fixes that will elevate the guest experience and enhance stability.”

But it wasn’t just that one day that Target.com had trouble handling. Even a month later, on days with no special sales or reasons for intense traffic, shoppers would often get a message that said  ““Woof. We are suddenly extremely popular. You may not be able to access our site momentarily due to unusually high traffic. Please stay here and we’ll try to get you in as soon as we can!”

Steinhafel did deliver some mixed messages about the stability of the site during the call. At one point, he said “We know we’re not yet providing a consistent experience online and we won’t stop until these issues are resolved.”

But later in the question/answer segment, when asked about whether they have a team in place that is capable of fixing the site, he said “Well, we believe the platform is stable.”

A test of that stability will be coming up soon – Black Friday is just a week away.

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Faroh Sauder has spent more than 30 years working as a journalist and educator. He has written on politics, international affairs, civil rights, and consumer education. Now mostly retired, Faroh continues to stay current on tech and consumer issues and reports on his interests here at News For Shoppers.