Channel Marker

Dec 1 2008   3:05PM GMT

Black Friday turns bloody

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

Whoa. Retailers can’t catch a break this year.

First of all there’s this little thing called a recession, which we’re now officially in,  according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, otherwise known as NBER. (Thanks for the heads up guys!)

Then Black Friday comes and disappoints. There were well documented snafus at  Microsoft Live Cashback, which was either MIA or didn’t give buyers the advertised rebates on Hewlett-Packard goods. Dell’s site returned an error message to returning shoppers between 9:40am-10:15am, according to researcher Gomez, Inc. 

“Shoppers were unable to retrieve pre-populated account information, meaning they had to start-over filling out forms when checking out,” said Gomez in a statement which also noted the issue was “quickly resolved.”

Lexington, Mass.-based Gomez also tallied tales of woe from the etail sites of less techy brands like Victoria’s Secret and Williams Sonoma. Costco, Sears and Overstock.com all had “availability” problems.

But reports from the field are not reassuring. In October, Gomez itself said in this tough economy, retailers have no margin for error in the holiday shopping season.

The good news is that retailers who survive the current downturn, will likely want to bolster web site performance and that could be a silver lining for etail-savvy VARs.

Personally, I cannot attest to any malfunctions since many of us in the tech press continue to sit on our wallets.

But the reports from the field are not reassuring.

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