Dixons, Curry’s & PC World
As e-commerce sites become more critical to business, so should the focus on how those websites perform
Setting the scene: Dixons Retail Group is a consumer electronic retailer owning the stores and websites of Dixons, Currys and PC World. Dixons Retail last year announced plans to close more than 100 UK stores, so e-commerce is a key revenue stream for the company.
Performance Nightmare: Shortly after the start of Dixon’s annual sale on Monday 23rd April 2012, Dixons.co.uk, PCWorld.co.uk and Currys.co.uk all went offline for 17 hours. This in itself was bad enough, as customers were quick to go to competitor sites to get their wares, but the problem was compounded by a lack of communication with customers over what exactly the problem was. Error messages changed throughout the day, blaming high traffic (which would make sense considering a sale had just started, and could have been planned for ahead of time with performance best practice), then “maintenance”, before a spokesman placed the blame on roadwork damage to cables. There was also speculation online that the sites were a victim of hackers, although that is probably a conclusion jumped to due to no definitive reason emerging. The Dixons nor the Currys & PC World Twitter and Facebook accounts offered any explanation or apology for the outages, despite a flood of customer complaints through social platforms.