This year, thanks to the greater promotion from retailers, Black Friday seems to have taken hold in earnest in the UK.
The scenes from 24 hour Tesco and Sainsbury’s stores suggest that retailers didn’t realise Black Friday was going to be so popular, and the websites of some big names have also struggled to cope.
We’ve seen plenty of this before on Boxing Day sales, but it’s a surprise to see so many of the big retailers’ sites struggle to cope.
Retailers selling electrical goods were the worst hit, with the Currys site having a queuing system since last night:
Queuing is undoubtedly annoying, but at least there’s the prospect of finally being able to access the site. It took 30 minutes or more for me, but it did eventually work.
Tesco had a diferent solution, keeping customers in a holding pattern and attempting to reload the page every 30 seconds.
It’s hard to think of a more annoying solution, as customers simply have no idea when or if the site would work for them. After 15 minutes I saw no movement.
No queues or holding patterns from John Lewis, just a simple message which also provided some alternative contact options.
It was surprising to see the Argos site fall over. It offers alternatives like reserve and collect for customers with the catalogue number, as well as contact details.
It also points people to its Twitter page for updates.
We know some of you are experiencing problems getting on to our site this #BlackFriday. Please bear with us, we hope to be with you soon.
— Argos (@Argos_Online) November 28, 2014
Of the four sites mentioned here, John Lewis has recovered (at the time of writing) but the rest are still struggling.
As David Moth wrote earlier this week, there has been a sense that interest in Black Friday has reached a tipping point.
He also wrote this:
Let’s just hope we don’t start to see that shameful display of people queuing in the street from midnight to secure the best deals.