Conchango unveils retailers set to enjoy bumper online sales this Christmas and those who risk being left behind

London, 6th September 2007 – Conchango, the e-commerce expert, has predicted the winners and losers in etailing this Christmas. Whilst some retailers are likely to be fully-prepared for a bumper online Christmas this year, there will be others that risk missing out on potential customers by not preparing their websites properly.

As part of an assessment of leading e-commerce sites, Conchango highlighted the lack of a search facility, poor navigation and limited product information and availability as prime drivers for consumers abandoning baskets. On the other hand, websites likely to enjoy extra-large Christmas sales incorporated customer reviews, online order tracking and a transparent, secure payment system into their offerings.

Conchango’s research also highlighted a number of well-known high street brands which don’t yet have an online transactional presence are currently missing out on an estimated 6% of their total revenue according to research analysts Forrester*. This figure is likely to rise to 11% in 201, equivalent to sales from a retailers’ biggest high-street store.

Likely winners will be:

Potential losers with no transactional web presence or poor usability include:

Lynne Davidson, head of retail consulting, Conchango comments, “With growing numbers of consumers making online their shopping method of choice, retailers will need to place more emphasis on ensuring their online presence is designed with the user in mind, their website provides an engaging experience and that they offer a secure, transparent payment system.

“E-tailers should see recent consumer demand for more sophisticated online shopping experiences as an opportunity and not a challenge. Success stories such as iTunes, and NET-A-PORTER have set a benchmark for other brands looking to get the most out of internet retailing.”

To ensure retailers can go into the important Christmas period with confidence, Conchango has created the following best practice guidelines:

Test your website to ensure it can do what it says – make sure items on display are available or ensure that consumers are aware that a product is or isn’t in stock

Guarantee that you can fulfil orders when you say you can – customers will want to know up-front whether you can deliver a product in time for Christmas Day. Peer recommendations or otherwise are increasingly important in a socially interactive Web 2.0 world.

Ensure you have the necessary bandwidth on standby or on demand – losing sales because your website can’t cope with high volumes of traffic will be infuriating. Set yourself regular deadlines to test your back-end systems

Take a holistic view of your payments system – to avoid high basket abandonment rates, retailers will need to offer consumers a secure, easy-to-use and fast checkout

Make sure that your marketing campaigns are integrated – retailers should be able to integrate both online activity with offline marketing and sales promotion campaigns to avoid they are not losing out to competitors when shoppers search for their products online

Provide a consistent experience – 21st century consumers are bombarded from all angles by brands attempting to secure their loyalty and lock-in. Shoppers are more likely to respond to a website that reflects the same design and experience as other touch-points with a particular brand – but remember they’ll expect the same attention to detail offline as well as online

Check that you’re feeding back valuable customer data and insight into the business – brands increasingly need to engage with consumers in a way that includes them in the direction and design of products and services

Don’t be afraid to employ rich applications and relevant third party content – search engines are now the default source of information for shoppers. Be it independent reviews, peer recommendations or where to buy, consumers are increasingly informed in their online buying habits. Brands will need to make their shopping experiences fun, enjoyable, easy and fast

*Forrester Europe's eCommerce Forecast: 2006 To 2011, June 2006

Published on: 12:00AM on 6th September 2007