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Missed the Target? Poor planning to blame in Australia’s latest PR fail

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By Isabelle Walker

Yesterday saw one of Australia's biggest retailers make a rookie error - its website crashed following the launch of a much advertised product. Was it poor tech planning or simply naivety about the popularity of online shopping?  

Popular for its cheap prices and staple clothing and home wares, Target has come under fire for poor planning in the wake of its launch of Italian design house, Missoni. 

The company website crashed yesterday when it was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of online shoppers wanting to be the first to snap up the cheap designer clothing, kitchen, dining and living items. 

Easily avoidable, and definitely foreseeable, shoppers are coming down hard on the company saying the crash is not a ‘badge of honour but a failure to forecast’. 

Savvy eBay users then took advantage of the site’s crash to on-sell their shop-bought items at a hugely inflated price. It was reported that “A Missoni for Target Multi-Wave A5 Set of Notebooks [was] selling for $45 on eBay versus $30 at Target online; a beach towel for $129.99 versus $40 online at Target; and a hand towel for $69.99 versus $20 on Target’s website.”

Online shoppers were livid at the site crash, insisting that management should have been prepared for the unprecedented volume, especially in light of the fact the same thing had happened during the launch of Missoni for Target in the United States. 

By 10.30pm, the site was still down and many had given up. One only imagines the sales Target missed out on during this time and whether there could have been anything they could have done to prevent the crash. 

So while online shoppers were kicking themselves that they preferred shopping in the comfort of their own home rather than braving the stores, and Target licks its wounds after a barrage of criticisms, those who took advantage of the crash to on-sell their items are laughing all the way to the bank…