Slow site loading and purchase delays plague Target’s Cyber Monday

Online shopping has a clear benefit over brick-and-mortar: on Black Friday weekend, you can stay safely behind your computer screen, avoiding lines and crowds while still scoring the same deals.

Except, not at Target. After reporting impressive out-the-gates results for online traffic and revenue on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the retailer’s online site stumbled on Cyber Monday: Target’s website faced loading problems and high-traffic meltdowns on Monday, with messages popping up for users asking them to hold on while Target “refreshes automatically and gets things going ASAP.” That wasn’t the worst Web offense, though. Users who looked to buy popular items like big-screen TVs were told “There’s a line for this item.”

Shoppers aren’t very happy about it.

The day for digital sales saw Target’s first site-wide markdown as it offered 15 percent off everything in the store with the code Cyber15. It’s day nine of Target’s 10 days of deals promotion, which included other promos like 20 percent off an order of $75 or more on Black Friday, and 25 percent off beauty products on Tuesday. However, things don’t seem to be working out online for those looking to save.

High traffic and quick-to-sell-out items is one Internet issue, but the point of online shopping is to avoid lines — something that wasn’t lost on shoppers who were busy trying to buy on Target’s website. The full message, which showed up for a 50-inch Vizio TV, is below.

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A Target rep said that Cyber Monday traffic volume is double that of the site’s previous highest trafficked day ever. Target isn’t the only one facing problems: PayPal’s site was down, disabling easy payments for many retailers. According to Forrester data, revenue on Cyber Monday is set to reach $2 billion, with overall online holiday shopping reaching $95 billion this season.

Target’s high traffic is a sign that people are still showing up for deals one way or another, even if it’s not in person on Black Friday. Still, most were confused by Target putting them in “line.”

More Twitter users had similar reactions to the site buckling, expecting more from the retailer’s tech-side.

The Cyber Monday crash comes a few days after Target reported strong results from its Thanksgiving Day online sales. The retailer gave shoppers access to all Black Friday deals online starting Thursday morning, and reported that Thanksgiving Day became its biggest day for online sales all year. Buy online, pick up in store orders increased 35 percent over the same day in 2014.

Not only is this Target’s first site-wide sale, but it’s also the first Cyber Monday that Target’s website was shoppable worldwide as of October 29. Although Black Friday hasn’t really caught on in other countries like the U.K., American shoppers now have to compete with the rest of the world when scoring Target’s deals.

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