#BlackFriday website crashes could cause massive damage to online firms

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Johannesburg - Big online retailers could face massive brand reputational damage if their websites are hit by downtime when the rush of Black Friday hits in just a few hours. 

This is according to Claude Schuck, Veeam's regional manager for Africa. Veeam is an information technology company that creates disaster recovery and data management software for firms. 

“Black Friday is really a make or break day for major online retailers. Yes, it could be seen as major boost for the economy, but there is a fine line between success and failure,” Schuck told Fin24. 

One of the biggest impacts of downtime on Black Friday is reputational damage, according Schuck. 

“It takes years to build a reputation and only a few seconds of downtime to cause massive damage toward a brand,” he said. 

Schuck likened the traffic demand of consumers to those waiting in line outside a brick and mortar store, when a store does not open on time, some retailers running Black Friday promotions have seen customers break down the doors. 

“Companies will have to have systems in place to keep up with high traffic demands and possibly move workload from one host to another to ensure capacity,” he said. 

“Another impact of downtime that online retailers face is just as bad, because if customers cannot get through to a store they can Google search another retailer and move on, resulting in a loss of revenue” Schuck told Fin24. 

The 2017 Veeam Availability Report shows that unplanned downtime costs organisations around the world an average of R270m annually, up from the R210m of the previous year. 

Downtime and data loss are causing enterprises to face public scrutiny in ways that cannot be measured by a balance sheet, according to Veeam. 

This year’s study shows that almost half of enterprises see a loss of customer confidence, and 40% experienced damage to brand integrity, which affect both brand reputation and customer retention.

During Black Friday last year, surging visitor demands crashed the websites of some of South Africa's biggest online retailers.

Takealot.com experienced erratic behaviour with the website being down while running its "Black Friday – Blue Dot Sale", which is set to begin at midnight on Friday night. 

The Foschini Group sites reported downtime as well on the same day with erratic behaviour on most of their company’s websites including Markham, Fabiani  and Sportscene – all of which are offering online customers discounted deals on various items. 

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