Blog News, tips & advice from the UK's streaming experts

Is your ecommerce website ready for the holiday season?

ecommerce website

The busy, rushed holiday shopping season is almost upon us. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just over a week away. How will online retailers fare this year? Let’s do a quick review of how they performed in 2012. While there were some outages during the holiday season, they were nothing like what people experienced in 2011. Overall the consensus is that ecommerce has come of age and matured enough to manage the technology.

But looking at 2013, will the technology be the same? A study by IBM last year indicated that 24% of all ecommerce sales on Black Friday were made from mobile devices. Cyber Monday captured 18% of sales from mobile. Given the increasing trends toward mobile usage, predictions are we should expect a significant increase in purchases made from tablets (iPads in particular – they accounted for 10% of all purchases) and smartphones.

Online retailers looking to capture the most sales this season clearly need to include support for mobile platforms. But just supporting isn’t enough. A report by Keynote Systems indicated the average wait time for Cyber Monday mobile users was 18 seconds. That’s nearly three times as long as page load times on a desktop.

The Keystone report, combined with data from Ipswitch, highlights the need for rigorous testing of mobile sites or applications.  In fact, Ipswich reported 90% of consumers would abandon shopping if they had a bad experience. Over 50% of shoppers went right to a competitor if they weren’t able to get what they wanted when they were on the site (whatever the reason).

Other reports on last year’s shopping behavior in the UK specifically show that online shoppers begin in early November, with only a slight peak on Cyber Monday. UK merchants should already be positioned to take advantage of the holiday season. But what can you do to be sure you’re ready for the continued growth in shopping?

Make sure your website is able to handle the bandwidth. Move higher bandwidth elements, such as video (like video reviews or product demonstrations) off to a CDN to ease the load on your server.

And be ready for mobile shoppers – tablets especially. Test your mobile site on as many mobile platforms as is reasonable – the iPad and major Android tablets at a minimum. Check load times and the full purchasing path to ensure it all works seamlessly.

Then hold on to your hats and see how the holiday sales season unfolds in 2013. Will it be as trouble free as last year? Even better, or potentially worse?

Oliver Burt

Sign Up For Free Account