Watch: Circuit City Delays Launch
Circuit City CEO Ronny Shmoel has postponed the planned Feb. 15 debut of his e-commerce site, CircuitCity.com, due to a deluge of pre-launch traffic.
Shmoel told TWICE that his information-only corporate site had been “inundated with visitors” in advance of the launch, and has already received hundreds of thousands of mailing list sign-ups.
“I didn’t appreciate how much brand recognition Circuit City had,” he said.
Rather than risk an opening-day crash, Shmoel decided to delay the debut to give his IBM site developers time to beef up the platform’s capacity — and posted an apology to would-be customers.
“We have been working around the clock to ensure that our site is optimized for our customers,” the statement reads. “Due to an overwhelming amount of preliminary traffic, we are reinforcing things a bit.”
Shmoel was reluctant to set a new launch date, but expects his e-commerce site to go live shortly.
“Though we regret that our launch will be slightly delayed, we are looking forward to offering you the best possible online shopping experience in the immediate future,” the statement said.
That experience will include a curated product assortment supported by videos, virtual vignettes, search-by-photo, augmented reality and real-time tech support via video chat, Shmoel said at a CES press conference last month. The goal, a company spokesman added, is to flip the traditional search-find-buy retail model into “play-explore-learn.”
Shmoel, a global sourcing veteran who acquired the Circuit City brand from Systemax in 2015, said he has also received strong interest from national retailers in his plan for turn-key Circuit City tech shops that can be placed within their stores.
Shmoel originally sought to resurrect the iconic brand in 2016, but has since overhauled his go-to-market strategy with the new social media focus fueled by IBM Watson commerce, which incorporates AI and other leading-edge e-tail technologies.
Once the No. 1 big-box tech chain, Circuit City succumbed to a rapidly changing marketplace in 2008, and misfired in its second incarnation as an online-only sister site to Systemax’s TigerDirect IT chain.
But interest in the franchise continues, as demonstrated by the media attention surrounding Shmoel’s CES presentation, and the pre-launch traffic the proto-site has garnered.