Macy’s put online shoppers in a virtual waiting line to access its site, and Victoria’s Secret and Williams-Sonoma also experienced problems on Black Friday.

Shoppers expect to wait in lines outside of and inside stores on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Online, they don’t.

Heavy web traffic resulted in glitches for some retailers on Black Friday, most notably at

Macy’s Inc. shoppers were met with a “temporary shopping jam” screen on its home page starting Friday morning and throughout a good chunk of the day. The screen, whether on desktop or mobile, would count down to 1 from 10 and then retry to load the site and allow consumers to enter. The site was under heavy load and put visitors in a queue to manage traffic, according to digital performance analytics company Catchpoint Systems Inc. Macy’s is No. 6 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide.

Other shoppers received a “Hmm … something went wrong” message as they tried to check out. The message encouraged shoppers to try again or to “check back in a little while” or order by phone via an 800 number. The note also said Macy’s apologizes for the inconvenience.

Macy’s Twitter feed on Friday was filled with the retailer’s responses to disappointed consumers who could not access the site. Among the replies Macy’s account gave: “We are working hard on getting it fixed. We appreciate your patience!” and “Our team is aware of the issue & they’re diligently working to fix the problem. We appreciate your patience—pls try back later. Thx!” Macy’s, which operates its e-commerce platform in-house, could not immediately be reached for comment.


Visitors to Victoria’s Secret, part of L Brands Inc. (No. 28), also experienced slowdowns Friday, with its desktop site taking about 30 seconds to load.

Williams-Sonoma Inc. (No. 21) began having problems about 9 a.m. Eastern on Friday as a result of problems with Photorank, a customer photo display service designed to help drive conversions, Catchpoint says. Load times on William-Sonoma’s desktop and mobile sites spiked to more than 25 seconds, “considered slow by any standard, according to Catchpoint.

A tag, which is a snippet of code, for social network Pinterest led to web page loading delays from 8-10 p.m. Eastern on Thursday for L.L. Bean Inc. (No. 34) and online marketplace, Catchpoint said Friday. A spokeswoman for Jet says the marketplace experienced no known issues. L.L. Bean could not be reached for comment. Catchpoint later confirmed that while the Pinterest tag was slow to load, it had little to no effect on consumers’ ability to interact with L.L. Bean’s or Jet’s home pages.

Starting early Thursday and continuing through Friday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 4) had localized problems with in the Phoenix area because of the Rubicon Project, an advertising tech company, according to Catchpoint.


On the upside, Neiman Marcus (No. 36), Dell Inc. (No. 3) and Apple Inc. (No. 2) were the top three fastest-loading websites on Black Friday, according to Dynatrace, a provider of website performance and monitoring services. The average total page load time as of 3 p.m. Friday was 1.130 seconds for Neiman Marcus, 1.835 seconds for Dell and 2.155 seconds for Apple. The fastest retailers for mobile web are Apple, Dell and Amway (No. 43).