Walmart Rolls Out ‘Evening Edition’ Of Cyber Monday Aimed At Working Customers

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cyber Monday booms despite site crashes.

Shoppers hunting for bargains that didn’t require cutting Thanksgiving meals short or fighting long lines took to the Internet yesterday to buy “‘til their typing-fingers dropped” on Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday isn’t over yet but it already looks poised to set a record this year, with early indications that online sales have grown 14% and leading retail websites including Target crashing temporarily, seemingly overwhelmed by high customer traffic. Some of the most popular websites experienced an overload on Monday, similar to a crowd pushing its way into an already packed brick-and-mortar store. Shoppers were for a period of time unable to gain access to the site of Target, the discount chain,and PayPal, the online payments processing service.

Upscale specialty food retailer Harry & David, payment operator Paypal and mega retailer Target suffered crashes. “So sorry but high traffic’s causing delays,” read the greeting to customers who couldn’t connect to target.com. “If you wouldn’t mind holding, we’ll refresh automatically & get things going ASAP. Foot Locker, Groupon and Victoria’s Secret also experienced brief outages or slowdowns Monday afternoon, according to Catchpoint Systems, a web monitoring firm.

The site remained working, if slower than usual. “As we experience spikes in traffic, our systems place guests in a queue,” a Target spokesperson said in a statement. “We apologize to guests who experience any delays, we appreciate their patience, and encourage them to try again in a few minutes by refreshing their browser.” Similar technical difficulties were reported during the five-day shopping spree starting on Thanksgiving by PayPal, department store chain Neiman Marcus, Walmart, Victoria’s Secret and Foot Locker. Sales on Cyber Monday, the busiest day of the year for internet shopping, were up 14% from a year earlier at $490m between midnight and 10am ET, according to Adobe Digital Index, part of Adobe Systems Inc, which provides digital marketing and media solutions to merchants. Adobe tracked 80% of all online transactions from the top 100 US retailers and said sales are on track to meet its expectation of a record $3bn by the end of the day. He pointed to the corrective measures parcel carriers such as Atlanta-based UPS have taken since their disastrous holiday season two years ago when they underestimated demand. The 14% boost on Monday is equivalent to the 14% jump in sales that Adobe recorded for Black Friday online shopping, when it tracked the activity of 4,500 retail websites.

The good news, he said, is that there will be about 6.6 million more paychecks hitting consumers’ wallets than last year, according to a study of payroll trends. Bringing in cyber sales would add to the more than 151 million people who said they shopped either in stores or online over the Black Friday weekend, according to survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation. Dax Cross, president of Revenue Analytics, said brick-and-mortar retailers are making progress in online sales, but haven’t caught up with Amazon, the 1,000 pound gorilla of the online industry. “Online shopping continues to be a huge growth driver for brick-and-mortar retailers,” he said. “Big box retailers are generally seeing 10-15 percent annual growth in online sales over last year. For many people, Monday was their first day back at work after the long Thanksgiving weekend, so some shopping was presumably being done surreptitiously while at work. Some stores such as Macy’s have begun opening their doors on Thanksgiving; Radio Shack said this year it would offer its deals on Wednesday; and Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, began offering some deals as early as 20 November, a week in advance.

On Monday, department stores whose share prices had already declined recently, due to low expectations going into the last two months of 2015, fell further. For the year, Macy’s stock has now plummeted 41% while Nordstrom is down 24%. “In the short term, players are saying ‘Hey, this is not what I positioned myself for,’” said Frank Davis, director of sales and trading at LEK Securities in New York. “They thought maybe we’d get a bit of a pop, but that hasn’t happened.” Between Thanksgiving and Sunday, $8.03bn was spent online, a 17% increase from 2014, Adobe said.

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