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Retailer criticised over online wait times

02 January 2018 - 12:14 by David Aiken

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British firm Boots has been hit with complaints from customers after people attempting to shop via its website over the Christmas period were corralled into virtual queues rather than having instant access.

The Sun reports that some people were stuck with the prospect of having to wait up to 40 minutes to shop online, encountering a landing page with a count down timer that hinted at lengthy delays.

Most consumers are used to retail sites loading in just two or three seconds, so the prospect of waiting the best part of an hour to simply browse products, let alone make a purchase, was enough to cause an outpouring of annoyance on social media.

A representative of Boots confirmed that the company’s website was suffering from problems when peak traffic volumes were reached on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Work to resolve the hold-ups was eventually successful, although this is another clear example of how a lack of capacity can put retailers’ reputations at risk.

Analysts anticipated that the popularity of e-commerce would result in new shopping records being set on December 25th itself, with an 11 per cent year on year increase recorded.

Around two thirds of this total was spent from smartphones and tablets, with consumers choosing to check out the latest offers while spending time with their families.

The rapid rise in spending on Christmas Day paints an interesting picture of how mobile devices have changed habits over the past decade. In 2009 this figure sat at £120 million, but last year hit a high of almost £900 million.

Even so, just a fifth of adults admit to using online shopping sites in this time frame, which means that even more growth is possible over the next few years.