Business development · 27 November 2015

Online performance crucial for small businesses looking to cash in on Black Friday

shutterstock_310699355
Small business owners looking to cash in on Black Friday should make sure their websites are user friendly and functional

Website performance will be crucial for small businesses looking to cash in on consumers’ willingness to spend this Black Friday, new research has shown. Open-source online operating system provider Rackspace has suggested the vast majority of UK consumers feel that consistently slow or malfunctioning websites have a direct negative impact on their loyalty to a brand.

Some 83 per cent of 2,000 consumers surveyed confirmed that website functionality is crucial to a brand’s reputation.

Always keen to pick up a bargain during peek online shopping days like Black Friday, shoppers are nevertheless only willing to give brands the narrowest of windows to impress them online. The survey found that a fifth of consumers would wait just 10 seconds for a website’s page to load before they would abandon their search and look elsewhere, with 37 per cent only willing to wait 20 seconds for a website to work properly.

“The gap between the digital and bricks and mortar shopping experience has closed and shoppers now expect a completely seamless experience across a brand’s online and offline presence,” said vice president of technology practices at Rackspace, Paul Bolt.

“As many retailers look to the last quarter of the year to boost sales and hit their targets they need to make sure their sites are running properly 100% of the time. Website error messages really do need to become a thing of the past if brands don’t want to risk losing revenue because of a badly performing website,” he added.

Commenting on the findings, internet technical solutions manager at GHD Spencer Hudson told Business Advice: “Fundamentally it all comes down to a question of brand loyalty – it’s what customers think of us and our ability to serve them – and we can’t risk losing customers through a poorly performing website.”

Black Friday 2014 saw five times the average number of shoppers go online attempting to find the best Christmas deals, with this year’s web traffic expected to spike even higher due to an increased take-up of mobile phone browsing.

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.


 
TAGS:

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

Q&A

If you’ve found the article above useful, but have a more detailed and bespoke question, then please feel free to submit a query to our expert. We at Business Advice will get in contact with them on your behalf and arrange for a personalised response. These questions and answers will then be collated on the site for any other readers who have similar queries.

Ask a question

On the up