A website can be a great shopfront for your organisation and every day, new companies join the foray of offering online goods for clamouring online customers. But an online store front needs to be robust, it needs to be designed to run 24×7 .. and it sets new expectations for your organisation to aspire to.
The last few hours have been pretty eventful for the web delivery team down at Sainsbury’s for example. The online store “died” yesterday, and any orders that were booked for today will not be arriving. Instead, customers are being presented with a picture of some lemons and an apology; customers who are missing their deliveries have been contacted and promised a £10 voucher for the trouble.
There are rumours that the problem was caused by a fire in a nearby building, but there’s been no official confirmation of that. The bottom line is that someone screwed up. Whether it was because there were no DR facilities planned that could come into effect, or no backups of the data for orders to be re-instated, the truth of the matter is that Sainsbury’s has been left with a number of disappointed customers who will certainly rethink their positions before placing their trust in the company’s website once again.
I think the damage control probably wasn’t handled too badly. offering customers compensation is a smart move that can help contain the story and reduce the impact of the damage; but I’d be curious to find out what sort of risk profiling had been carried out on their online facility, how much lost revenue this downtime translates into and the overall impact on their customer retention figures. One thing I can say, I’m glad I’m not the person responsible for the outage!