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Christmas Top Sellers' Potential To Cause Website Woes

Rackspace Managed Hosting warns that the record increase in online spending this Christmas will put unforeseen pressure on website infrastructures. Consumers are looking to get the best last minute deals shopping in the convenience of their own home or at work, rather than on the high street for the highly coveted top sellers such as the Nintendo Wii, and the recent rush of retro comebacks such as Transformers, the Spice Girls and Led Zeppelin.

Recent research, carried out by the Social Issues Research Centre and Rackspace Managed Hosting showed that 62% of respondents rated high speed as the most important factor in an ideal site. Therefore organisations must review their web hosting requirements to pre-empt loss of business due to a poorly performing website.

Fabio Torlini, Marketing Director, Rackspace, commented, "This festive season will see the heaviest levels of online traffic yet as discerning customers scour the Web to get the best value for money. In this exceedingly competitive online marketplace, where profit margins are at its tightest and the health of the overall retail economy uncertain, the difference between closing or losing a sale could literally be a matter of seconds. The slightest delay in navigating a website could cause a customer to make the purchase at a competing site - a situation online retailers can ill afford at a time when the shopping frenzy is at its peak."

Shoppers have already demonstrated their online spending power as over £750,000 was spent in under a minute on online purchases according to payment processing company, Retail Decisions, underpinning reports from eDigitalResearch that online sales for the last three months of this year will hit a record £17.6bn, up 82 per cent on 2006.

"In addition, advertisers are launching extremely attractive last minute online marketing campaigns for these already popular Christmas presents, further escalating consumer demand to even higher levels. However, if website infrastructures are not geared to cope with this additional traffic, not only will the advertising spend be wasted investment, but more importantly, customers may well find that their Wii is not home for Christmas", added Torlini.

"Finally, as we move into 2008, online retailers will need to take a much more sophisticated approach to retaining customers through targeted advertising, superior web experience, speedy delivery, personalisation and interactivity, all of which can be enabled by the quality and capacity of their web infrastructures", concluded Torlini.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.