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Retailers struggle to prepare for pre-Christmas rush

25 September 2018 - 09:58 by Graham Miller

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The busiest period of the year in retail is nearly here, with millions of British consumers set to spend billions of pounds in the run up to the festive season this year.

However, a study from Marketing Signals suggests that a worrying proportion of businesses are not quite ready for the influx of traffic that their sites are set to receive.

Thirty nine per cent of retail representatives questioned in the survey said that they have not finished making the tweaks necessary to allow their websites to cope with the uptick in visitor numbers.

Sixteen per cent were even more complacent than most, admitting that they are not certain about the exact point at which these vital preparations will begin. For consumers this could mean that certain sites are a little unstable as peak Christmas shopping habits begin in earnest.

Close to a third of respondents said that they had not checked whether or not their e-commerce site could take the strain of higher than usual traffic volumes, with crashes and slowdown almost inevitable as a result.

A similar proportion said that their festive marketing efforts had not been completely finalised, while around a quarter have yet to put adequate solutions in place to track customer behaviour and glean useful data from their actions.

Report spokesperson Gareth Hoyle said that retailers should really be working hard well ahead of the festive shopping season in order to optimise their ability to win sales and exceed consumer expectations.

Recent shifts in the way that safe shopping online is handled in the three months before the end of the year mean that a lot of spending is concentrated into incredibly limited timeframes, with Black Friday playing perhaps the biggest role in this respect. As such it is easy to see why thorough preparation is essential.