Make Sure Your Site’s Ready for Holiday Traffic

Regardless of What Research Shows

New data released from Hitwise indicates that online retail traffic has begun to slow and suggests that it will continue to do so into the holiday season. "These declines are the only drops in retail traffic that have occurred this year and reflect the reaction of consumers that have pulled back on spending in the current economic climate," says Heather Dougherty on the Hitwise blog.

Retail Traffic Sinking

The data is somewhat contradictory to findings from a different survey though – this one from The E-tailing Group. In fact, they find that online holiday shopping is likely to surpass in-store shopping even though consumers plan to buy fewer gifts due to the economy. Some key findings from this survey include:

– 49% say they plan to do their gift buying online

– 44% say they will do it in stores

– 52% plan to buy fewer gifts this year

– 88% cite "saving time" as their reason for online shopping

– 84% cite "locating hard-to-find products"

– 83% cite a "greater selection"

– 83% also cite "avoiding crowds at the mall"

"Although the Internet is now the shoppers’ channel of choice, economic pressures are making the stakes high for merchants. They need to continually learn from and react to their customer’s multi-channel demands," said Kelly O’Neill, eCommerce Marketing Director for ATG. "It is imperative that practical solutions be deployed wisely throughout the holiday season and into 2009."

Think about the reason people are saying they want to do their shopping online. The biggest reason is to save time. This makes it abundantly clear that you need to have your site’s usability in order. Guide them through the checkout process. Make it easy.

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