Macy’s Website Suffers Disruptions on Critical Shopping Day

  • Department-store chain ‘working quickly’ to resolve delays
  • Other retailers’ websites also bogged down on Black Friday

Bargain Hunters Ditch Stores for Online Deals

The Macy’s Inc. website suffered service disruptions on Black Friday, dealing a setback to a company trying to persuade customers -- and investors -- that it can handle more online traffic.

Some visitors to Macys.com were shunted to a page citing “heavier traffic than normal,” with a countdown clock telling shoppers when they could return to the main site.

“We are still taking a high volume of online orders, and we are working quickly to alleviate the delay issue, which we hope to have resolved shortly,” Holly Thomas, a spokeswoman for the largest U.S. department-store chain, said in an e-mail.

Macy’s is shutting brick-and-mortar locations, putting more pressure on its e-commerce site to deliver sales. It’s closing 100 full-line stores, out of a total of more than 700, and seeking partners to help redevelop some of its flagship locations.

With traffic at shopping malls slowing, more customers are seeking Black Friday deals on Macy’s site.

‘Heavy Load’

“They are under heavy load,” said Mehdi Daoudi, head of the website-monitoring firm Catchpoint Systems Inc.

Macy’s customers also encountered delays on the retailer’s mobile site. Shoppers were redirected to a page that said the site was “temporarily unavailable due to routine site maintenance” and would be back shortly.

But even if shoppers had trouble on Friday, they’ll be able to shop the same offers through midnight on Saturday, Thomas said.

Macy’s wasn’t the only retailer facing technical problems.

The website for Victoria’s Secret, owned by L Brands Inc., suffered delays as well, according to Catchpoint. And shoppers at Express Inc. and Pier 1 Imports Inc. have complained on social media about errors and slowness on those websites.

Express responded to angry customers on Twitter with messages reading, “We should be back up and running soon. We’re working hard so you can continue shopping!”

Black Friday is expected to be the first day to exceed $1 billion in mobile-shopping revenue, according to Adobe Digital Insights. But as spending surges, customers are getting less patient with mobile load times. The sweet spot for mobile sites -- the ideal load time to prevent cart abandonment -- will be 2 seconds or less this year, down from 2.4 seconds in 2015, according to SOASTA.

J.C. Penney Co. Chief Executive Officer Marvin Ellison said his company handled record-breaking mobile traffic “with no service interruptions” -- an apparent dig at his department-store rival.

“The holiday season is just beginning, but we are highly encouraged that our customer feels confident to shop,” Ellison said in a statement.

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