November 30, 2011, 11:33 AM

After multiple site crashes, Target.com tries to regroup in time for the holidays

After multiple site crashes, Target.com tries to regroup in time for the holidays.

Lead Photo

No one ever said life beyond Amazon would be easy. Target Corp. found that out the hard way in recent months after migrating its e-commerce site off of its long-time home on a platform hosted by Amazon.com Inc.

The new site, built in-house over a two-year period with e-commerce technology from IBM Corp. and site search provider Endeca Technologies Inc. (which is being acquired by Oracle Corp.), was designed to offer more product recommendations, better gift registries and improved graphics, Target said in announcing the new site last summer. "Establishing a new platform for Target.com allows Target to reinvent our guests' online environment and create a more user-friendly, reliable experience," then-president of Target.com Steve Eastman said.

But by mid-October, Target was looking for a new online president as Eastman resigned "to pursue other opportunities" following multiple site crashes that left Target.com unavailable to shoppers for hours at a time. The site suffered at least five general outages between mid-September and early November, in one case for about six hours, according to AlertBot, a company that monitors web site performance.

On the evening of Nov. 4, Target.com experienced a series of seven outages for a total downtime of nearly three hours, AlertBot says. "If this was scheduled maintenance, it was poor timing and poor execution with the web site going up and down," says Justin Noll, sales and marketing manager at AlertBot. Target said the site was down on Nov. 4 for a total of 1 hour and 35 minutes, but gave no details.

The experience of Target since the new site launch provides a warning for other e-retailers.

The first outage on the new Target.com, in September, appeared to stem from the site not being able to handle a big spike in traffic prompted by the launch of Target's new Missoni apparel line—an issue that could have been avoided by better preliminary load testing, Noll says. "This same problem happens every year to a few large e-commerce sites on Black Friday and Cyber Monday," he says, referring to the day after Thanksgiving and the first Monday after Thanksgiving, both popular days for online shopping.

thad@verticalwebmedia.com

To Order the Entire December 2011 Hot 100 Issue: Click Here

To View a Sample Profile Page: Click Here

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

From IR Blogs

FPO

Jacques van der Wilt / E-Commerce

How to quickly improve your ROI on Google Shopping

Don’t just track category ROI. Look at ROI by product to maximize profits. Just one ...

FPO

Adrien Henni / E-Commerce

Alibaba tops e-commerce sites in Russia as well as China

AliExpress, the Alibaba site that lets international shoppers buy from Chinese merchants, leads in traffic ...

Advertisement