#FAILFriday: Black Friday Edition!

black friday fail computer frustration

By Thomas Lashier

Welcome to unending chaos Black Friday, everyone! Today is the day that reasonable, educated adults turn into ravenous wild animals in the search for 10% off a child’s stuffed moose. Crazy, right? Well, the day after Thanksgiving has turned into a crucial day for marketers throughout the United States. For the most part, marketers have succeeded in driving droves of people into their stores at strange hours of the night through discount pricing and limited quantities of Christmas-worthy gifts. Not all companies get it right though…

In 2012, Kohl’s treated their loyal customers to a Black Friday marketing fail. Kohl’s website advertised over 500 “early bird specials” and up to 20% discounts on already-low prices, including free shipping on orders over $50. All of these deals were offered only on Thanksgiving night, leading into Black Friday. However, when fans tried to log in to the website and access these great deals, they were met with a “Sorry For the Delay” error message that didn’t go away no matter how many times you tried to log in or refresh the page.

The site’s issues were related to the large spike in visitor traffic: the website wasn’t ready to handle all of the visitors. All of those enticing deals and discounts were lost, and Kohl’s lost hours of valuable sales on what is typically the biggest sales day of the year. They also disappointed their most loyal customers and sent them running to other stores to spend their holiday cash. Many customers started assuming that the discounts and deals were just a scam to drive publicity, and others thought Kohl’s purposely crashed the site after a certain amount of deals were purchased. Either way, this was not an ideal marketing position for Kohl’s.

Are you a Black Friday shopper? What do you think? Should Kohl’s have tested their website before offering all of these deals? Should they have relied more on their in-store sales than on their online deals? Do you think they might have crashed their site on purpose? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

And, if you’re out shopping today on Black Friday, don’t let us find you in the video below. Stay safe! And stay sane.


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