Costco Potentially Loses Millions After Website Crash

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) didn’t have a very happy Thanksgiving this year. Costco’s site experienced some technical trouble on Thanksgiving Day, potentially costing the company millions of dollars in lost sales. Social media quickly lit up with angry shoppers complaining about the crash, giving the company an unfortunate black eye during the busiest shopping season of the year.

Costco opted to keep its doors closed on Thanksgiving Day, but kicked off its Black Friday deals early online. On Thursday only, the retailer was promising steep discounts on laptops, TVs, and other popular holiday purchases. However, because of the issues, early bird discount hunters were unable to check out and pay for the items they scored.

At around 8:40 a.m. ET on Thursday, Costco put a banner on its website telling its online shoppers that the site was “experiencing slow response times.” Later, the message was updated to “… experiencing longer than normal response times.” The company eventually decided to extend its Thanksgiving Day-only promotions into Friday, noting that the prices were only good while supplies last.

The retail and deals site Love the Sales calculated how much money the company probably lost from the outage. The calculation took into consideration the amount of time that the Costco site was down and the total online sales revenue from last year, as well as other factors such as traffic and seasonality. On a per-minute basis, they calculated that the company would have pulled in approximately $11,035 a minute, adding up to nearly $11 million over the 9,019 minutes, or approximately 16 hours, the website was down.

More than 165 million people in the United States are expected to shop holiday sales between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday this year, according to an annual survey released by the National Retail Federation. Data from Adobe Analytics shows that online sales on Thanksgiving rose 15 percent over last year to $4.2 billion. The online estimate for Black Friday is $7.4 billion, up 19 percent year-over-year.