/// As the Power Returns, E-Commerce Sites Turn Their Attention to the Holidays

November 5, 2012  |  All Things Digital


Technology companies are largely considered resilient in natural disasters. When one server goes down, a redundant one lights up across the country to pick up the slack. And when employees can’t make it to work, they work remotely with a laptop and a broadband connection. Source: Fab.com. Employees at Fab.com work from co-founder’s Jason Goldberg’s kitchen table. But last week, superstorm Sandy proved that even virtual organizations have their kryptonite. As the power went out in parts of New York and New Jersey, e-commerce sites dealt with the realities of the physical world when warehouses came to a screeching halt and trucks could not get through flooded streets to make deliveries. To add to the burden, the lack of electricity in both offices and employees’ homes made getting online to conduct business even more difficult. Niraj Shah, the CEO and co-founder of Wayfair, said this morning that the Boston-based home decor site witnessed the effects second-hand. At the peak of the storm, 1,300 of its 4,000 suppliers were offline, he said, and today, 63 of its suppliers are still cleaning up after the floods. Shah said on Friday, one of its suppliers filled one particularly urgent order by flashlight, but in other cases, items were removed from its site if they knew it would take too long to get to customers’ homes. “We are always monitoring the fill rate and lead time,” he said. “We had a couple of suppliers running on generators or flashlights to keep some volume moving.” Other e-commerce sites based in the Northeast, including Fab.com, OpenSky, Gilt Groupe and Diapers.com, saw the impact from the storm first-hand. Fab.com, which sells quirky home decor and apparel online, lost power at its headquarters in the West Village and at two of its warehouses in New Jersey. Source: Lot18 Lot18 employees displaced by Superstorm Sandy find alternate places to work. During the chaos, co-founder and CEO Jason Goldberg wrote about the challenges on the company’s blog. “About 1/3 of our employees lost power at home. Some of our team members suffered damages to their homes and property. Our offices and our warehouses lost power. But, thankfully everyone in the Fab Family is safe,” he wrote. Last week, Goldberg said employees found makeshift places to continue the task of listing 1,000 new products to the site every day

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As the Power Returns, E-Commerce Sites Turn Their Attention to the Holidays


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