Best Buy Website Dies On Black Friday

The Best Buy website crashed on Black Friday… twice. Once in the morning hours and once again in the late afternoon. The company is blaming the outages on both an internal decision to shut down temporarily to fix issues and on a glitch.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the site outage this morning was blamed on a surge in traffic from mobile devices that caused the retailer to take down its website Black Friday morning at about 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. It was down for about an hour, with a simple message in its place.

“We’re sorry. BestBuy.com is currently unavailable.”

Although the WSJ reported the outage at about an hour, Tech Crunch reports a much longer outage than that. They also report that Best Buy’s mobile apps were also down during the outage. Tech Crunch jokingly suggested that Best Buy call the Geek Squad. Their report updates with more outages moving into the 2:30 p.m. hour, making the day’s outage total most of today’s regular business hours.

The second Best Buy website outage happened this evening at about 5:30 p.m. EST, according to CNBC, and lasted for nearly as long. They also report that sources say the Best Buy website had issues starting Wednesday, with sporadic outages and errors.

Neither outage is good for the company, which concentrated heavily on online and mobile shopping advertising this year in hopes of capturing a larger share of the $50 billion estimated to be spent by shopper over this weekend after Thanksgiving. Fortune says that Best Buy reports 20 percent growth in the U.S. last fiscal year, in large part due to online sales growth.

Other retailers, such as Target and Walmart, says the Wall Street Journal, report record or near-record online sales from Thanksgiving onward as Black Friday took hold online. Most online retailers expect to see record sales on Cyber Monday as well, including Best Buy. Last year, Best Buy recorded $11.5 billion in sales during the nine-week holiday period. Online sales, says the WSJ, are Best Buy’s fastest-growing channel and represent about 7.5 percent of the company’s U.S. revenues.

Other online retailers had issues this Black Friday as well. Besides Best Buy, HP had severe site outages that affected not just their sales, but also their reputation as they enter the cloud storage and computing space, says Ars Technica. Cabela’s also had issues, though they were brief. As did shoe retailer Foot Locker.

Of the group, however, it appears that the website outages at Best Buy were the worst this Black Friday. Perhaps things will go more smoothly on Cyber Monday.