Almost two weeks after the president of Target’s online division left “to pursue other opportunities”, Target’s retail website continues to fail, regularly, and on several fronts.
“Woof” says the now familiar message when Target’s home page is loaded. “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!”
The error message happens often. Even today, a Tuesday, with no major product product launches or large scale (think Black Friday) sales going on, the ‘Woof’ message has interrupted our attempts to access the site for the past several hours. Even once we were ‘in’, as soon as a search was performed, we were kicked back out without the results for our search. We were back to ‘Woof’.
After repeated attempts to get on the site, and complete a search, we did finally get results. Kind of. The first row of products provided by the search were all ‘out of stock’. Why are out of stock items listed as the top results? Wouldn’t it make more sense (and cents) to actually list products that were available? To make matters worse, many of the product images on the results page failed to load, giving the site a broken, abandoned looking, feel.
With modern website technology, such as expandable clouds and content delivery networks (CDN’s), plus the amount of money and resources Target surely puts into its e-commerce division, not being able to keep the site up during normal day to day customer traffic is an incredible failure.
The problems started in late August. Target took over its own website – which had been run by Amazon. The very first day their new site was up it was plagued by errors and sluggishness. Weeks later, during the first major sale it had to handle (the launch of Target’s Missoni line), the site crashed, causing customer outrage. Target.com’s troubles persist on today, two months after they took control of the site.