Amazon website crashes on its biggest shopping day of the year proving that even the king of scaling can get it wrong

Date: 17th July 2018
Author: Louise Arnold

On its’ biggest shopping day of the year Amazon’s website struggled to handle peak traffic. Proving that even the biggest players get it wrong sometimes. Errors were encountered on both the desktop site as well as the mobile app and disgruntled shoppers took to Twitter to voice their outrage.

Amazon website crashes

DownDetector.com,  said the problems began soon after the sale began at 15:00 in the US. According to the BBC, “Some saw an error page featuring the “dogs of Amazon” and were unable to enter the site, while others could not enter specific product pages. Some were unable to complete purchases at checkout, while others reported that the “deals” page and “Shop all deals” button had disappeared from the site.” The issues were primarily in the US with some more widely spread including sites in Europe, Africa, South America, Russia, Asia and Australasia.

Amazon caught out by demand

It seems Amazon were caught out with demand outstripping that of last year early on. Amazon stated in a Tweet that compared to last year, more customers ordered in the first hour of the sale. Amazon’s servers were unable to handle demand and reportedly refused to accept payment details potentially forcing frustrated consumers to turn to rivals for similar deals.

The technical ecommerce risks it’s not worth taking

Whilst the majority of businesses aren’t working on a scale any where near that of Amazon – hot on the heels of the TSB fiasco, this latest failure is a stark reminder of the technical ecommerce risks including bad publicity (escalated social media) not to mention the lost sales that can harm both your brand and your bottom line when websites and apps don’t meet demand at peak. TSB recently left hundreds of customers unable to access their accounts, blamed on inadequate testing prior to the launch of their new platform.

According to Internet Retailer, assuming the site was up and running, this year’s Prime Day was projected to earn Amazon $4 billion in sales. But share prices fell soon after the problems started and with these gremlins in the servers, it’s possible Amazon won’t achieve those sales targets.

Don’t get caught out

Don’t get caught out, realistic load testing is the only way to be sure your site will handle peak traffic in the real world. For advice on successfully preparing your site for peak read our eBook.

Free eBook: Maximising site performance for flash sales and seasonal peaks

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