Downtime the Focus of Holiday Prep

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Have you started preparing your website for the holidays? If not, you may be a step behind of your competition.

This is because a new study from cloud hosting company Rackspace reveals that 81 percent of e-commerce decision makers (CIOs, CTOs and IT chiefs) are taking steps to improve the online shopping experience for the 2012 holiday season, such as increasing computing capacity, redesigning websites and addressing security concerns.

In fact, the survey found that one of the biggest challenges that retailers are taking precautions against is website downtime, with 77 percent taking steps to reduce or eliminate this problem during the holiday season. Perhaps the reason this issue is top of mind is because downtime posed a problem for 18 percent of survey respondents last year, with losses ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to tens of millions. Furthermore, 45 percent of the respondents estimate they would lose between $500,000 and $5 million if their company’s site went down for a single day during the holiday season, which could be the reason why 28 percent of respondents are working with their third-party hosting provider to make sure customers can keep shopping online during high-traffic periods. 

“Many online retailers have found out the hard way in 2011 that their internal IT systems and resources weren’t ready to handle large spikes in holiday sales,” said Adrianna Bustamante, who works in commerce channel development for Rackspace. “With 45 percent of retailers expecting holiday sales to grow this year, it is important that retailers take steps to improve the online shopping experience and reduce or eliminate downtime during the all-important holiday season.” 

Taking steps to improve site performance is very important, especially with the expectation that this year’s holiday sales will be better than last year. Other findings from the study reveal that 29 percent of retailers are preparing for the season by hiring more IT staff, while 37 percent will use load testing, 33 percent will build up website redundancy and 48 percent will increase computing capacity to improve their site’s shopping experience.

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