Today is known as Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, and a day in which e-tailors offer discounts and promotions to persuade people to shop online. Ebuyer.com had lined up a day of £1 deals, which included laptops, however with the site going down for several hours, their day didn't turn out quite as they had hoped.
The Register sums up their lack of planning, with a failure to manage their load in advance of the promotion:
Ebuyer failed to shore up its web systems ahead of the customer rush and the site was offline for several hours even before the offers officially opened at 11am today.
One mistake many marketing teams make is not to inform developers, or the web team about forthcoming campaigns that may (they hope) increase traffic to the site in peaks over a short period of time. I know because I've been there myself.
It's difficult to believe that a site as large and experienced as ebuyer would have these problems. However a quick look around the (now online) site suggests that load management isn't the only schoolboy error with their site.
I took a look at their Christmas promotions page, which details the campaign as follows:
The out-of-date copy suggests lack of attention to detail, but this isn't my primary bugbear. The following is a screenshot from the home page of this promotion.
I was interested in what the Most Wanted section of the site included, so I clicked it and got to this page:
It's exactly the same. I thought I was waiting for the page to load, given their earlier problems, but no, it was the same page but the content that had changed was below the fold. A few scrolls down the page and I get to the Most Wanted content. It's just a really poorly thought through design.
One might say that today became something of a Black Monday for ebuyer...