shopping

Web shopping accelerates as holidays draw closer

Online shopping sales are expected to surge in the coming days in the lead up to Christmas and Boxing Day, according to e-Commerce website development company, eCommerce Websites.

eCommerce Websites managing director Adrian Mullan said that over the past few years, the number of consumers that are purchasing through the online medium has been steadily increasing and businesses should be prepared for the growth surge. (See also "Safe online shopping: 10 tips to avoid getting burned").

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He attributed a recent research by payment processor PayPal, which stated the Internet has increased the sales of 64 percent of small businesses and 2012 has seen more than a billion online buyers worldwide spending more than $1.2 trillion dollars.

According to Mullan, there are two big trends that have emerged as a result of online shopping. The first that he mentioned is the growth of people purchasing direct from mobile devices, or very least, browsing on a mobile device and then completing the transaction on a desktop.

"We're getting huge mobile penetration in Asia-Pacific, and Australia is one of the highest in the world. We're also seeing a lot of changes on shopping comparison apps—where people walk into retail stores with their mobile devices, scan a product for information and buy it online from the cheapest retailer."

The other trend that he mentioned was that people are becoming more comfortable with retailers operating in a multichannel space.

"Initially, they uses to be in either a bricks and mortar environment or a pure-play online environment but now, we are seeing the blurring of the lines and people doing a combination of things," he claimed.

Essential for stores

He also added that businesses that have not gotten on board with an online presence should as it has gone on to become a "need to have" from a "nice to have" stage.

"Instead of looking at ways to combat it, businesses should try to come up with some creative ways to embrace it so that they aren't left in a scenario where their customer base is continuously shrinking."

Mullan mentioned that businesses that have an online presence should tweak their software and server configuration to scale uptime during that period, especially in avoiding an online disaster such as the recent Click Frenzy incident.

"On the hardware side of things, it is about building an infrastructure that can dynamically scale as the load increases and part of it is the Web server application side of things," he said.

Mullan also added that businesses should also ensure that they have adequate time to be able to not only do the testing but also the necessary changes.

"They need to create an environment that dynamically scales as the amount of users increase. Instead of setting a hard limit, designing a solution where as the number increases, the system automatically spins up new services to compensate for them is necessary," he added.

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