Are our electronic stores ready for the next Christmas season?

Over the years, the volume of online commerce has increased significantly, especially driven by the successive Christmas campaigns that have been marking the way for each following year. In U.S.A. it is expected that this year online Christmas purchases will represent up to 36% of all e-commerce in 2011 and, according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, 68% of respondents trust that sales will grow at least 15% on the figures of the previous year, in which Internet retail sales in the US already reached 32.6 billion dollars, with an increase of 12% over the record figures of 2009, according to a report of comScore .

But the US is not the only country where electronic commerce is pulling hard. Boston Consulting Group has just released a report in which the number of online buyers go from the current 145 million to 329 million in 2015, and reaching a turnover that represents 7.4% of total sales Chinese retailers.

In the United States, the starting signal for the Christmas season occurs with the Friday after Thanksgiving, known as “Black Friday”, combined with “Cyber ​​Monday”. A good campaign can represent a significant turnover and the salvation of the business throughout the year. Therefore, companies are increasingly making major investments to attract online shoppers, with significant investments in social campaigns, special promotions, free shipping and discounts.

However, this promotional effort is not accompanied in many cases with the adequacy of the systems that are behind the web pages, preparing them adequately to meet the large number of customers that the marketing teams have managed to attract to our portals. Not paying attention to the proper functioning of the website means that our store may not be prepared to adequately address the growth of traffic, with the important consequences of loss of business, not only present but also future. An example of these problems of adapting the network to the business we can see, with news that is often repeated too often, in the blocking and dropping of the ticket sales servers of a very special concert, such as Bruce Springsteen in Barcelona next year. Or the collapse in Chilean online stores just a few days ago

Companies are investing increasing budgets in attracting customers, but very little in serving and serving those customers once we have managed to reach our homes, let alone get them back. In short, a real failure to assess the profitability of a particular action, obtain short-term income, fail to create an adequate image of our brand and, finally, destroy any possible loyalty with a view to future commercial actions.

Looking ahead to the next Christmas and sales campaign, those responsible for IT of companies with electronic storefronts, should ask themselves if they are ready and if their shops or online stores have everything necessary to serve potential customers. Online consumers are frustrated with the slow digital windows or that are blocked, leaving them completely distressed and forcing them to leave the store and find other alternatives.

Recently, JP Morgan has published a study in which it says that online shoppers with incomes over $ 100,000 per year were the most common online customers, and also that they were the least patience of all Internet users.

Clients ask for a fast, safe and personal treatment experience when they buy online. Attracting and satisfying customers who come to our stores at this time is vital to keep them faithful for the rest of the year. The slow, unreliable or insecure experiences of shopping on our website lead to abandonment and disaffection, causing an escape to other stores of the competition where the operation is appropriate.

Along with the usual elements of operation and performance of a web dedicated to electronic commerce, it is important to take into account the traffic peaks that can occur in these commercial times. With a significant flow of customers coming to our store, the infrastructure of the web can be overwhelmed by requests for images, video, personalized content and an increase in dynamic transactions in shopping carts. This flood of traffic requests very quickly consumes resources and bandwidth available in the network, and if we do not quickly face this problem, customers will experience slowdowns in the processes and the unavailability of purchase pages and applications. The result is already known, the frustration, the abandonment of the page, the loss of income and,

What should we take into account when preparing for our Christmas e-commerce campaign? From CDNetworks we suggest taking into account the following:

  • Improve the cache – We have to provide our store with an intelligent caching service that, in moments of punctual increase in traffic, add unlimited capacity and global reach. An elastic capacity allows the ITC departments of companies to guarantee the service without having to make an excess capacity forecast for the “best possible case”, with the costs that this entails. We must ensure that the pages are available to users anywhere in the world, even at times when the network may have problems in certain regions, deploying a geographically distributed content delivery architecture. Having a global infrastructure that analyzes and distributes traffic, based on congestion and popularity of content, is fundamental.
  • Security – Improve the security and speed of your customers’ transactions. Using cloud-based SSL network encryption systems will improve network performance for your customers and reduce infrastructure complexities, thus increasing the number of transactions that can be monetarized. This solution is much more advantageous to handle a larger and safer volume of transactions, in terms of costs, than that of incorporating datacenters scattered throughout a sparse geography.
  • Dynamic personalized content – Maximize the performance of personalized content and applications. It is a recognized fact in the industry that the identification of users from the first moment, and the rapid supply of personalized content, loyalty to customers and increases the possibility of new sales thanks to the use of recommendations or sales recall programs previous A quick and available personalized content is a key factor for improving our brand loyalty and to ensure that customers return to visit us once the vacation period ends.
  • Change and purge content – Accelerate your ability to update the content of your store. Creating new promotions, or updating existing ones, is essential to attract new visitors and users to your page. Many agencies usually launch special promotions at certain times and times of the day. But to be able to properly perform your business, you need to be able to carry out the purging and cleaning of the previous content. When selecting a content distribution provider (CDN) make sure the time needed to purge the information is right for your business, do not go to take any unpleasant surprises.
  • Keep user information – Improve the functioning of your cibertienda by increasing the capacity of your networks to remember the activity of the user, both browsing the page and the shopping cart. If at any time users lose the connection and try to return to the previous situation, your store should be able to guarantee that the session, as it had been developed until then, is recovered in its entirety, including the selected articles that are in the car. Thus, providing the user with a perfectly consistent and continuous service, despite the possible failures of the network, the customer experience with us will be satisfactory.
  • Supervision and reconnection – Ensure the operation of your store thanks to monitoring and reconnection solutions. What happens when part or parts of a website are inaccessible? Incorporating automatic check-in systems for servers and applications, together with a cloud-based architecture, can significantly reduce the impact that our servers can have offline, overloaded or unresponsive servers.

Operating time is key when we are competing for an important part of the business, and the availability of our website determines our potential revenue and loyalty to our brand. Adopt some, if not all, of these suggestions, will ensure that your business is prepared to face increasingly demanding customers and an increasingly global and competitive market. There are few days left for the Christmas campaign, there is no time to fall asleep.