November 28, 2008 - Black Friday Means Opportunity Missed

Just for kicks, I thought I would check out this morning, being Black Friday 2008 and all. After the last several years of embarassment, I wanted to see if Walmart had taken the steps necessary to get their house in order.

Sadly, I was greeted with a message this morning indicating that the site was down for "Scheduled Maintenance." What online retailer schedules maintenance for the day after Thanksgiving, one of the largest shopping days of the year?

A few of the things that I learned include the following:
  1. If you plan on doing scheduled maintenance, make sure that it is not during the time when your customers are most likely going to be using your site.
  2. If you are faced with an outage due to demand, be honest with your customers. Don't lose the opportunity to keep or earn their business. Give them a code during the outage that will allow them to come back to the site and get an additional discount at checkout. Use the outage page as a way to expand and appease your customer base.
  3. It doesn't matter how large the organization is, we still have a lot of work to do to bring technology, marketing, and customer service together.

Happy shopping!