Web companies create their own problems on Black Friday – research

online shopping cartThe artificially created surge in demand for online bargains on Black Friday could be damaging many brands, according to a recent report by hosting giant Rackspace.

Though Black Friday falls on a national holiday in the US, its lack of cultural significance in the UK hasn’t failed to prevent it become an online retail landmark. Companies ranging from Amazon to John Lewis to Orange have created one day, limited offer shopping deals to generate demand surges, with customers flooding both their online and in store outlets on Black Friday.

On Friday traffic analyst Traffic Defender live blogged that the John Lewis online store was unavailable and gave a low down on the performance of a variety of online players.

With e-commerce loyalty at an all time low, according to Rackspace, these artificially engineered spikes in traffic and public interest in cloud computing performance may be counter productive to any cloud based service provider.

In a Rackspace survey of 2,000 consumers, 39% of respondents recognised that websites failure is due to poor construction and maintenance. The vast majority (83%) of UK consumers claim a consistently slow or unavailable websites negatively affects their brand loyalty. Almost one in five consumers (18%) would only wait 10 seconds or less for a website or page to load before they would abandon their search and look elsewhere.

“This Black Friday, ecommerce loyalty is at an all-time low. Consumers now have a vast choice of retailers available to them online, so it’s easy for them to change their mind about which shop to spend their hard earned cash with,” said Paul Bolt, VP of Technology Practices at Rackspace.

The ‘inevitable website traffic spikes’ and ‘uncompromising demand from customers’, however, could contribute to the tarnishing of a brand, warned Bolt, “There really is no place for outages.” If companies are going to risk their brand image for a single day of busy trading they must put the cloud foundations in place, Bolt argued.