Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, thousands and thousands of little feet pitter- patter across concrete parking lots, rushing to snag that incredible Nintendo Wii system, featured at half off the normal price, in hopes that their child will participate in some solid, physical video gaming activity. This day, known as Black Friday in the US, is typically referred to as the brick and mortar kick off of holiday shopping.
Cyber Monday is a lesser known shopping day, but still just as, if not more important. Cyber Monday is the Monday after thanksgiving, the “ceremonial kick-off of the holiday online shopping season” in the US. There is debate on if Cyber Monday really even exists. Some say that this day was created as a marketing ploy, as an excuse for retailers to sell and customers to buy.
However, since its name was coined in 2005, the myth, in my opinion, has become a reality, as retailers are taking this opportunity to offer even more discounts and deals to their customers. Sure, only 10% of people in 2006 said that they would shop online on Cyber Monday. And yes, last year Cyber Monday wasn’t even in the top ten of the biggest shopping days of the year. But. It was #12. And being number 12 out of 365 is not such a bad number.
This year’s Cyber Monday took place yesterday. According to a survey projecting numbers, 72 million Americans intended to shop on this day, (Up from 60 million last year). That’s 32% of Americans shopping online. So the internet must be really congested with traffic, right? Even more than usual? Well, aren’t companies worried about technical difficulties? Well, it happened.
Thousands of business owners held their breath for 16 hours on Monday, as they watched their online stores, hosted by Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, do nothing. That’s right. Shopping carts were timing out and customers could not make the purchase they had already picked out, resulting in a high level of frustration on both the customer and the retail side.
Yahoo! merchants pay $39.95 a month just so that this wouldn’t happen. With a site that boasts a 99.9 % uptime, merchants thought they were finally safe from those technical difficulties that are dreaded on busy days like this. The many small business owners that use Yahoo! for their online stores are feeling the effect it had on them. They lost thousands of dollars in sales that failed not because of their marketing methods, not because of poor products, but because of a technical error that was beyond their control.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Yahoo! did something that is a definite “Don’t” in my book. They did nothing. They didn’t let their customers know what was going on. They didn’t let them know that they didn’t know what was going on. They began addressing the problem but did not keep its customers’ updated on the status. The way this crisis was managed by Yahoo! created gaping wounds in its brand and customer service reputations.
To hear what Yahoo!’s customers are saying read on at WebmasterWorld. Here, you can read customers’ responses to the crash as it began to unfold!