Hostway Issues Christmas Shopping Warning

Hosting company Hostway has issued a warning to retailers that they risk losing millions of pounds from missed sales this Christmas if their IT infrastructure fails to cater for the expected sharp increase in traffic from mobile users.

According to the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), the UK is predicted to spend £6.4bn online this Christmas, as consumers continue to seek better deals than in-store. Furthermore, again according to the IMRG, mobile shopping is set to make an increased contribution to online sales this year, as 18 per cent of consumers plan to buy some gifts using their smartphones. 

“Many online retailers have prepared for the extra traffic their sites receive during the pre-Christmas rush. However, with more customers shopping on their mobile phones, retailers now need to ensure they can cope with a surge in demand from this channel, otherwise they risk losing a significant number of sales,” says Hostway director, Neil Barton. “Having the right IT infrastructure in place to deal with the rise in mobile commerce, and to support the growing number of mobile shopping applications, is an absolute must.”

Research carried out by TNS earlier this year found that 82 per cent of consumers would be dissuaded from buying goods from an organisation on the web or even in store if its website performed badly. This, says Hostway, demonstrates the importance of having a good online reputation, and the need for retailers to ensure their online customer experience is a positive one.

“In the same way customers have determined which brands they are loyal to on the traditional web, we are likely to see the same in the mobile space, as more people shop using their phone,” adds Barton. “Today’s mobile sites and applications are also becoming much more multimedia heavy, therefore it is vital that retailers have sufficient supporting IT infrastructure, and invest in solutions such as traffic management and content caching, which can help enhance the mobile experience.

“The challenge for retailers this Christmas is to learn from their mistakes in the traditional web world and ensure their mobile services and applications have the right mix of technology to support them. Those retailers that do are likely to have a much merrier Christmas and prosperous new year than those that don’t.”