32% of online retailers are not ready for the golden quarter, new research finds

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The golden sales quarter (October – December) for retailers is fast approaching, but many retail businesses are not fully prepared for the accompanying onset of increased website traffic this usually brings, according to new research.

A survey of 1,325 UK marketing professionals carried out by leading digital marketing agency, Marketingsignals.com, revealed that almost a third of online retailers (32%) admit their website is not yet ready for the uplift in golden quarter traffic as we head towards Christmas.

In fact, almost one in five (18%) say that their golden quarter plans have still not been finalised.

Of those retail businesses who are unprepared for the golden quarter, 43% said that they haven’t yet begun load testing their website – meaning that these retailers could potentially see glitches and crashes on their website as it struggles to cope with the increased volume of traffic.

In addition, more than a third (38%) said that imagery and descriptions for new products are not yet ready – meaning they’re unable to load them onto the site.

A further 31% said that neither their SEO or PPC campaigns have yet been planned for the quarter.

More than a quarter (27%) said that they don’t yet have their website analytics up and running correctly – potentially meaning that their golden quarter performance will not be measured accurately.

Not optimising their website checkout process navigation for optimal UX completed the top five ways that many online retailers aren’t yet prepared for Christmas and the start of the golden quarter with 18% of respondents citing this.

Gareth Hoyle, managing director at Marketingsignals.com comments: “Our annual research has found that in 2019 businesses are becoming better prepared for the golden quarter, as this time last year, an incredible 39% on online retailers were unprepared for the run up to Christmas.   

“Though our 2019 research still shows that there are many ways that so many retailers are not ready for the busiest quarter of the year for online shopping – (with events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and Boxing Day sales contained in this period) it is essential that online retailers get their websites fully prepared for the increase in traffic, so they can take advantage of this key trading period.

Hoyle went on to add that..l.“…the golden quarter is traditionally a time where retailers make the majority of their profit, so a successful pre Christmas trading period, can quite simply, make the difference between a company having a bumper year, or losses and uncertainty if sales do not go well.”

Marketing Signals offer a wide range of digital marketing services including paid search, paid social, digital PR and technical SEO. For more information on Marketing Signals please visit www.Marketingsignals.com

The top five ways online retailers are unprepared for the golden quarter:

1 – They haven’t yet begun load testing (43%)

2 – New product images and descriptions are not yet ready (38%)

3 – SEO and PPC campaigns are not yet planned (31%)

4 – Analytics are not yet set up correctly (27%)

5 – Checkout navigation for optimal UX is still to be optimised (18%)