Web site hosting company, Hostway, has warned retailers risk losing significant revenue from missed Christmas and January sales if their IT infrastructure fails to cope with the sharp increases in traffic from mobile users downloading and using shopping applications.
UK consumers are predicted to spend £3.72bn online in the run up to Christmas with mobile shopping set to significantly increase online sales this year, as more than a third of consumers (35%) are saying they plan on doing more shopping using their phones.
“Many online retailers have prepared for the extra traffic their sites receive during the pre-Christmas rush. However, with the advent of the latest smart phones and tablet devices, more people are shopping on the go through mobile sites and applications,” said Andreas Edler, managing director at Hostway UK.
“Retailers now need to ensure they can cope with a surge in demand from this channel otherwise they risk losing out on sales. Having the right IT infrastructure in place to deal with the rise in mobile commerce and shopping applications is an absolute must.”
In fact, recent research from KPMG supports this shift in consumer shopping habits. It found almost a third (32%) of people use their phones to research products and services. A further 30% load online coupons on their handhelds, while 88% said they download apps to their mobile.
“The predicted rise of m-commerce and the emergence of dedicated shopping apps from the likes of Amazon and Tesco, confirms the app culture is here to stay,” said Edler. “However, a critical factor to mobile application success is ensuring there is enough bandwidth available to support them.
“If the demand exceeds expectations, mobile services can start to buckle under the pressure or even stop working altogether, which is no good for either consumers or retailers. Using dedicated servers to support the application is one solution which can help solve these problems.
“The challenge for retailers this Christmas is to ensure their mobile services and applications have the right infrastructure to support them. Those retailers that do are likely to have an ‘appy’ Christmas and prosperous new year,” said Edler.