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Target Works to Fix Website Before Black Friday

Target Corp. (TGT) spent two years preparing to take control of its website from Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and on the day of the debut included a link on the home page titled “learn all about what’s new.” The link didn’t work.

The error, fixed later that day, proved to be a sign of problems to come. The new Target.com has crashed six times since it went live on Aug. 23, and accounted for more than half of the major outages this year at the top 100 sites in the U.S. by revenue, according to Web monitor AlertBot. The site’s president left the company. Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, is also less than three weeks away.

“They could lose customers for this,” Robin Lewis, chief executive officer of the Robin Report retail newsletter, said in an interview. “Target is so on top of everything else they do over there, and how they run their business. For this to be happening is surprising.”

Like many brick-and-mortar retailers, Target has been grappling for years with how to improve its Web operations as shoppers migrate online. In the early days of the Web, companies such as Target and Toys “R” Us Inc. found it easier and less expensive to outsource their online operations to Amazon. More...

11-13-2011 15:45

Half of Small Companies Lack Disaster Recovery Plan, Says Survey

We hate to bring it up, but would your business be able to keep running in the event of an earthquake, terrorist attack or some other disaster? If you have doubts, you're in the same boat as about half of small and medium-sized businesses, according to one survey.

Symantec recently released the results of its "2011 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey" and they are not promising. According to the survey, 50% of SMBs have no disaster recovery plan in place, even though 65% of them operate in areas that are vulnerable to natural disasters.

So what's the hold up? It's not so much an issue with resources, but rather that many (41%) just didn't realize it would be necessary and more than half don't believe that computers and IT are critical to their business.

While many smaller, bricks-and-mortar businesses may not use sophisticated software day-to-day, one should never under estimate just how much of their business's operations rely on the security of computers, networks and data.

For many small businesses, data is backed up, but not on a consistent or complete basis. Approximately half of respondents said they only backed up 60% of their data and less than half said they run back-ups on a weekly or more frequent basis.

The survey found also found that of SMBs tend to wait until there's a problem to act. Half of respondents had implemented a disaster recovery plan only after an outage or data loss had occurred.

The consequences can be serious. Outages can cost SMBs over $12,000 per day, not to mention the number of customers that flee in droves when there's a serious outage or loss of data. More...

01-12-2011 21:53

U.S. Online Holiday Sales Climb 15%, Boosting Overall Share

U.S. online sales jumped 15 percent this holiday season, spurred by “aggressive” marketing by Web- based retailers, a research firm said.

Online sales were $36.4 billion from Oct. 31 through Dec. 22, compared with $31.5 billion a year earlier, said MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, a Purchase, New York-based firm that measures retail sales by all payment forms. Online apparel sales grew the fastest, or 26 percent, while electronics were up 12 percent and department stores 11 percent.

Daily online sales exceeded $1 billion on six days this season, which was twice as many days as a year ago, said Michael McNamara, a vice president at SpendingPulse. The growth meant online sales grabbed a larger share of the season’s total sales, he said. More...

12-24-2010 17:54