A few major retailers experienced technical difficulties on their websites during Thanksgiving weekend —the official start of the holiday shopping season.
Costco saw its website shut down entirely for a short time early on Thanksgiving Day, experiencing “intermittent slow load and transaction times” starting late Wednesday, according to website performance monitor Catchpoint. As a result, Costco announced on the site that “all Thanksgiving Day-only promotions have been extended into Friday, November 29th, WHILE SUPPLIES LAST.”
Catchpoint also revealed that H&M’s website was down for less than 5 minutes, on Thanksgiving morning, and also experienced intermittent outages on Black Friday morning. In addition, Home Depot’s website had “slow load times” during the middle of the day on Thanksgiving. Nordstrom Rack customers reported some technical issues on social media on Friday.
Representatives from these companies didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment. ChannelAdvisor, a software platform for retailers, estimated that retailers lose about 4 percent of a day’s sales, each hour that a website is down, so there's no doubt they want to work out any technical issues before Cyber Monday, which is traditionally the day retailers roll out their biggest online discounts.
However, many major retailers decided to launch their holiday shopping season even earlier, with Walmart starting its holiday shopping season on Oct. 25, citing fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The company said it would debut new deals regularly as the season progresses, and is also offering free next-day delivery for the first time. Best Buy also announced it will offer a similar shipping option for thousands of its items, and Target shoppers can get items shipped the same day by paying a flat fee of $9.99 per order.
In the meantime, online retail sales on Thanksgiving are expected to surpass $4 billion, according to Adobe Analytics, which monitors the online transactions of 80 of the top 100 web retailers in the U.S.