According to IMR, there are now over two billion people using the Internet and with recent news indicating that nearly half of British consumers shop online at least once a week, it is clear that online shops are a vital tool for any business.
As the Internet has developed, it is not just online start-ups such as ebay or Amazon where people are spending their money. Supermarkets and high street retailers have also jumped on the bandwagon – Ocado is a classic example of this, but now Morrisons, M&S, and Zara are the latest retailers to set up an online store to capitalise on the growing number of people shopping on the Internet.
When starting a website, particularly a consumer facing site, we at Rackspace always try to stress that the experience is as stress free as possible and is seen as an easier option to shopping in store. To achieve this we always recommend the following three points to our customers:
- It must be up and running 24/7 with sufficient support in place should there be a problem
- Be able to cope with vast amounts of traffic, be it expected or unexpected
- Be secure and compliant
The first two automatically eliminate some of the biggest issues shoppers face in their daily online browsing. But the third is vitally important so consumers feel they can trust paying for goods online without the risk of fraud, this is where Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance comes in. We have experts onsite to advise companies how to become PCI compliant and warn of the potential hazards of not fulfilling the strict criteria.
A great example can be seen through our recent work with one of the UK’s biggest cinema groups Vue, which ensures that its booking system is always available and problems such as mass bookings for the latest film releases don’t bring the site down.
So the moral of the story is that regardless of whether people are buying groceries, booking cinema tickets, or just browsing online, you only get one chance to impress. With an ever increasing number of people shopping online it is becoming more important for businesses to have an online presence, but for a site to succeed it is has to be safe, consumer friendly, and easy to use, otherwise you run the risk of losing customers and damaging your brand image – which in the online world can be very costly.