Anyone who lined up outside their local Target early one Tuesday morning this past September to score some Missoni — and witnessed the retail carnage that ensued — will be well prepared for Black Friday.
Target (TGT), on the other hand, may not be as ready — especially when it comes to its website, which the Missoni launch famously crashed. As Bloomberg reports, Target.com has gone down five more times since the Missoni fiasco, and its president, Steve Eastman, has departed.
Eastman has yet to be replaced, and the company is still struggling with how to handle its online traffic. The website problems began in late August, when Target stopped using Amazon Web Services, which had provided the tech infrastructure for Target to run its e-commerce platform since 2001.
Amazon (AMZN) sells data processing and cloud-based storage to large companies like Siemens, Pfizer, and Nasdaq. But retailers like Target, which compete with Amazon for online shoppers, are increasingly handling e-commerce in-house. Amazon charged Target estimated $100 million a year for its services, according to Bloomberg.
Target rebuilt its new Amazon-free website from scratch, and is continuing to adjust it as problems come up.
While the Missoni line was exclusive to the retailer, if Target.com can’t handle Black Friday traffic, it could lose sales to competitors like Walmart (WMT) or Best Buy (BBY). In 2010, Cyber Monday attracted 106 million shoppers and generated over $1 billion in sales.
Even while its technology lags behind, Target did raise the bar when it comes to bricks-and-mortar Black Friday shopping. On Oct. 28, Target became one of the first retailers to announce that its stores would open at midnight on Thanksgiving. Macy’s (M), Kohls (KSS), and Best Buy have all followed suit.
Tagged: Amazon Web Services, Amazon.com Inc, Best Buy Co Inc, Black Friday, christmas shopping, ChristmasShopping, cyber monday, CyberMonday, ecommerce, Finance, holiday shopping, HolidayShopping, Kohl’s