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Etailers tool up for eXmas

When Santa got stuck in the e-chimney

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One hundred and thirty nine days to go until Christmas and the festive hype has already begun.

Etailers are warned to get a move on if they want to capitalise on this year's online shopping blitz.

They need to ensure that their Web operation can withstand an onslaught of shoppers looking for gifts, and also they should ensure they have the resources to handle the predicted spike in demand.

Last year, one in three online orders made in the pre-Christmas rush failed to arrive in time for Christmas and one in five failed to arrive at all.

In the US alone etailers waved bye-bye to $1 billion in lost orders last Christmas because of poor site design or the failure to deliver goods on time.

In a bid to improve on last year, broadband operation, XO and e-commerce outfit Intershop have launched a Web site to supply advice to etailers.

"The financial impact of the wrong e-commerce strategy at Christmas can be high, especially if considerable resources were spent on design, systems and stock", said John Griffith, MD of Intershop.

"Online Christmas shoppers expect round the clock service, swift delivery and good bargains. But frustration with slow or non-existent delivery before Christmas Day, inaccessible or broken web sites and poor support has knocked the shine off many people's perception of the online shopping experience.

"Increased consumer Internet sophistication means that at the first sign of slow download times or poor site performance, your customers will head straight for your competitor," he said.

Ho, ho, ho. ®

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