Online Stores Crowded on Black Friday


Sears, Roebuck and Co.

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The Business Technology blog at the Wall Street Journal reported last night that several ecommerce merchants experienced slowdowns and in some cases service disruptions due to higher than expected demand.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that people are shopping online Friday. This year, retailers have been promoting online sales more heavily than in the past. In the case of Sears.com, the promotions seem to have worked too well: The site was unavailable for many visitors between 10 am and 12:40 pm EST Friday, according to Keynote. (It was also down when we tried to access to access the site at 3:30 EST.) A spokesman for Sears said that traffic was "higher than anticipated" and that the company was taking steps to ensure the site would be available on Monday---another popular online-shopping day.
From Business Technology : Retail Sites Crash as Shopping Season Opens
Referenced Sat Nov 29 2008 10:56:56 GMT-0700 (MST)

One of the realities of the online retail world is that most online retailers lock down their sites sometime in late October and don't make code changes and sometimes even template changes until after Christmas. There's just no point taking a chance during the time you collect a disproportionate chunk of your revenue. For ecommerce tool vendors, that means that the fourth quarter can be slim.

I have a feeling that most retailers aren't taking advantage of cloud resources to scale with demand. I'd love to see more data on that. With this years failings and the increasing popularity of cloud computing, maybe next year will be different.