What Did We Say About Cyber Monday and Website Downtime?

Here at Alertra we like our customers to be ready for anything – and that includes the madness of Cyber Monday. We have to say, we saw it coming. Last week we warned everyone to ensure that their web hosting plans were up to par with the demand that Cyber Monday was likely to create. Unfortunately, it seems that not everyone heeded that advice (or they weren’t reading our blog).Many sites went down for the count as the sales were revealed. Brick-and-mortar stores couldn’t keep products on the shelves on Black Friday. It seems that some sites couldn’t even take orders when Cyber Monday arrived due to the inability of the sites to manage the bandwidth needs. During these hours, lost sales meant a significant loss of revenue.

American Apparel Was One Casualty

Many sites experienced huge surges in traffic on Cyber Monday as their sales were revealed to the public. Customers received emails with enticing deals and headed straight for the sites to take advantage of the offers. The only problem is, some of those sites weren’t even up and running when customers arrived. American Apparel was one of them. The company did, however, communicate to customers regarding the website downtime via Twitter, tweeting “Due to an overwhelming response to our sale our site is down. Sorry for the inconvenience! We'll update you as soon as the site is back up!”

This is a good example of how to communicate website downtime with your customers. American Apparel may not have prepared themselves for the demands of Cyber Monday, but they were on top of it when the demand did bring their site down.

Some Not So Good Examples

While American Apparel was on top of their website outage, customers of other websites weren’t as happy as some companies didn’t communicate why their websites went offline or when they would be back up. Of course we all know it’s because of Cyber Monday, but communicating the facts to your customers and letting them know what is being done about an outage is important. The Twitter community was proof of this fact on Cyber Monday while people tweeted things like “scumbag oreilly: says everything 50% off for cyber monday! And... website outage! :(” and “Come on Brandy M, why must your site keep going down!!! I'm just trying to get my Cyber Monday goinnnnn”.

It’s readily apparent that shoppers take their Cyber Monday deals seriously. If a site goes down during the shopping havoc, they want to know why and when the site will be back up so they can make their purchases.

Cyber Monday Isn’t the Only Day Customers Need Communication

While Cyber Monday is a perfect example of why and how a site can go down, we must remember that it isn’t the only reason. Websites can go down for many reasons. DDoS attacks. Server outages. You name it. Website downtime isn’t a matter of if – it’s a matter of when. What you need to remember is that when it happens, you have to communicate with your customers using social media platforms, as we’ve mentioned in the past. American Apparel did a great job of this on Cyber Monday with their Twitter posts. Some other online stores left customers in the dark, and that’s never a good idea.