Have you been meaning to upgrade your Web site? If so, make haste.
“Retailers must capitalize on the continued strength of the online market by improving their sites to accommodate heavy online traffic,” according to the Jupiter Research report: “Holiday 2007 Postmortem — Comparing Online and Off-line Sales Growth.”
Jupiter found that 2007 online holiday sales — which hit $39 billion in the United States — increased 20 percent from the same period in 2006 “while off-line sales remained dismal.” Jupiter concludes that retailers must upgrade their Web sites in order to boost holiday sales during the 2008 holiday season.
Retailers must expect, according to the Jupiter report, “that holiday shoppers will visit their site on the days with the highest share of Web traffic to retail sites, which continue to be Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving).”
During this time frame, Jupiter suggests, multichannel retailers should take steps to promote off-line store experiences, store locations, in-store inventory and cross-channel service offerings such as in-store pickup and returns.
Interestingly, even on these high Web traffic days, no retailers report their busiest sales days corresponding with the busiest traffic days. This, Jupiter says, reflects the amount of online research shoppers do before making off-line purchases. This means that online retailers should make aggressive efforts to create online experiences that enable shoppers to research purchases they probably will make at a later day. These experiences include: comparison tools, recently viewed items and inventory status.
“Online retail continues to remain insulated from economic factors, and multichannel retailers must use this to their advantage during the 2008 holiday shopping season,” said David Schatsky, Jupiter president.