Wal-Mart kicked off its Black Friday sales online at midnight Thursday, and soon after customers angrily took to social media, claiming they couldn’t find what they were looking for.
Business Insider first reported on the shortages.
One user’s Facebook comment reads: “Just was on your website looking at clothing. How in the world do you expect to have a good Black Friday or Cyber Monday when everything is out of stock. Really.”
Another said on Facebook: “Did the east coast end up with all of these items already sold out. So very disappointed.”
One woman also wrote: “At 2am Thursday morning you were out of some of the items already! Thought I would look this morning…sigh.”
A representative from Wal-Mart didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
“Our Black Friday event was awesome,” Scott Hilton, chief revenue officer of Wal-Mart’s e-commerce division said in a statement earlier Thursday evening. “Cyber Monday will be too.”
To be sure, as traditionally offline retailers fight to keep pace with internet giant Amazon this holiday season, it’s crucial that they’re able to meet consumers’ demands at peak hours and fulfill online orders.
Amazon’s Black Friday deals this year include markdowns on many of its Alexa-enabled devices, along with TVs, toys, sporting goods and home furnishings.
Wal-Mart, though, has been touting heavy investments in its online business. On a recent call with members of the media, management said the company was well stocked ahead of the holidays and wasn’t concerned about running low on items.
Starting Sunday evening, Target.com will feature “deep discounts” that run through Saturday, Dec. 2. On Monday, Target’s entire website will be marked down by 15 percent.
As of 5 p.m. ET Thursday, $1.52 billion had already been spent online, according to a survey by Adobe Analytics. That represents nearly 17 percent growth compared with a year ago.
Of note, a record 46 percent of total traffic to retailers’ websites was stemming from smartphones, Adobe found.