Marks & Spencer has been forced to pull down its website following a major cock-up which allowed customers to see each others’ details when they logged in to their own accounts.
The site, which cost over £100m to develop, was suspended for two hours on Tuesday night so that the problem could be fixed. However, not before personal data, including names, dates of birth, contacts and previous orders were exposed.
Despite the fact that M&S insists customers’ full credit card details were not among the leaked information, the issue will no doubt raise concerns about the site, especially given the media frenzy sparked by the TalkTalk hack.
M&S maintains the glitch was the result of an internal error, rather than of an external hack attack. It added: “Due to a technical issue, we temporarily suspended our website yesterday evening. This allowed us to thoroughly investigate and resolve the issue and quickly restore service for our customers. We apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused.”
It is not known whether the Information Commissioner’s Office will launch an investigation into the issue.
Ironically, M&S has only just started to see its online strategy pay dividends. In July this year it revealed that sales on M&S.com had risen by 38.7% in the first quarter of 2015; a marked improvement to last summer when it suffered an 8% decline in online sales due to problems with the site.
This success has enabled M&S to finally embrace customer insight, and has been the main driver of its new loyalty programme, Sparks.
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