Here's one example of where it might have paid to physically line up in the wee, dark hours to score a Black Friday deal.
Bulk-discount retail giant Costco (COST) - Get Report got a rude and costly awakening Thanksgiving Day when its website went down for more than 16 hours, costing the retailer nearly $11 million in lost pre-Black Friday potential sales, according to retail sales aggregator website LovetheSales.com.
LovetheSales.com calculated how much Costco might have pulled in over the 16.5 hours its website was down. On a per-minute basis, the company pulls in approximately $11,035 a minute, adding up to nearly $11 million over the two-thirds of Thanksgiving Day that buyers saw "Sorry for the delay" messages on their screens while trying to check out.
While Costco like other retailers opted to keep its doors closed on Thanksgiving Day, it kicked off its Black Friday deals early online. However, because of the issues, early bird discount hunters were unable to check out and pay for the goods they scored.
At around 8:40 a.m. ET on Thursday, Costco added a banner to its website alerting its online shoppers that the site was "experiencing slow response times." That message was later updated to "... experiencing longer than normal response times."
Costco wasn't the only retailer suffering from virtual pains. Nordstrom's (JWN) - Get Report discount chain Nordstrom Rack's website also experienced technical issues, frustrating Black Friday bargain hunters.
For its part, Costco wasn't about to ruin the Black Friday adrenaline rush for its online customers, adding later on its website that "Thanksgiving Day-only promotions have been extended into Friday November 29th, WHILE SUPPLIES LAST. We apologize for any inconvenience."