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Target’s Website Down – AGAIN!

10/14/2011

Target Corp.’s website was down for almost 6 hours Thursday, preventing shoppers from doing much more than finding a local store.

This is unnerving for the retailer as it accelerates towards the all important holiday selling season. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, is just six weeks away. Approaching the holidays it is likely the Target.com will receive increasing demand – which translates into stress on its back-end structure. This could be bad news if consumers perceive Target.com to be a fragile website is prone to crashing. The potential damage to customer relations, let alone lost revenue may be significant.

After years of contracting its website to Amazon.com, Target announced in 2009 that it wanted to bring the site in-house to gain full control over the design and management of its e-commerce operation. Target relaunched the site in August, an it faced its first big test on September 13, when shoppers overwhelmed Target.com for the introduction of the “Missoni For Target” line of products.

A surprising and “unrelated” announcement was made yesterday by the retailer that Target.com President Steve Eastman had left the company to pursue other interests. A company spokesman wasn’t at liberty to discuss the details but said it is not performance related. Hmmmm.

Retailing is a difficult business. Retailing, even if multi-channel, is especially tough in this economy. Target has a lot at stake with its e-commerce business. I wouldn’t recommend Target wait until Black Friday to stress test its website’s back-end.

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