Cyber Monday's digital door-busting sales broke more than purchasing forecasts, causing at least one of the country's biggest retailer's website to crash for many users.
Target's website went down at 10:00 a.m. ET on Monday, according to Catchpoint Systems, a web performance monitoring company. Around 10:40 a.m. ET the website began to come back "intermittently," but customers continued to encounter a "problem" message, Catchpoint spokesman Frank Cioff said, adding that "technically" the site was back up, but content wasn't available.
"Please hold tight. So Sorry, but high traffic's causing delays. If you wouldn't mind holding, we'll refresh automatically and get things going ASAP (sic)," the message read on Target.com. A corporate spokeswoman said customers were put in a "queue" and asked to check back later.
Many expressed their frustration on social media, chiding the company for not being better prepared to handle the traffic surge that was expected to come on one of the largest online shopping events of the year.
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In a statement, Senior Group Manager for Target communications Molly Snyder said, "We are seeing a tremendous response to today’s 15 percent off sitewide offer. The volume is already twice as high as our busiest day ever. We continue to receive and process thousands of orders from guests who are shopping the entire site and taking advantage of the discount coupled with free shipping. As we experience spikes in traffic, our systems place guests in a queue and prompt them to access the site later. We apologize to guests who experience any delays, we appreciate their patience, and encourage them to try again in a few minutes by refreshing their browser."
The company kicked off its "Cyber Week" of sales Monday, calling it Target's "biggest and boldest yet."
"Target.com's site-wide 15 percent discount is pretty aggressive and likely the best offer we've seen," Keith Anderson, vice president of strategy and insight at Profitero, an e-commerce analytics firm, told NBC News.
In addition to the site wide savings of 15 percent off, a first for the company, clothing is discounted at 30 percent, home goods at 40 percent, 30 percent off hundreds of toys. Target is also offering gift cards with certain big-ticket purchases and gave early-bird consumers nearly 75 percent off "e-door-buster" deals.