The strength of last year's online Christmas surprised many observers and left dot-coms struggling to cope with the huge influx of orders. Stories of e-commerce luminaries like Amazon commandeering staff from the CEO down to pack Christmas orders, and ToysRUs.com having to send out gift certificates to kids left without presents on Christmas Day, captured head-lines this January and warned the industry of what is at stake. If you get this wrong at any time, you'll have a problem; do it at Christmas and it could spell disaster.
How do you prepare? With just a couple of months left before Christmas, eComWorld spoke to several e-tailers who survived last year (as well as some that aren't around anymore and learned the hard way) to find the best advice for getting ready for Christmas.
The good news is that you still have time to check your systems - both technical and administrative - before the eight weeks leading up to 25 December. Plus, you don't need to have a huge budget to take advantage of the Christmas rush - we also have tips for strengthening your Web business on a budget.
While order fulfilment becomes a huge issue at Christmas, it's still make or break for e-tailers any time of the year. How can you ensure customers receive their orders on time and to expectation? This is the challenge facing any business that has decided to sell online.
Besides addressing the supply-side of the equation and internal processes, eComWorld also spoke with couriers and distribution companies to find out what you can do to ensure smooth order fulfilment.
Whether you're an online-only dot-com or you operate a Web store from your established business, this month's eComWorld has something for everyone.
And to ensure we can measure the progression towards our goal of 2001 web sites online by 2001, we invite you to register your business's Web site with us. We'll be providing an online directory - categorised by industry, business and site type - for our readers, consumers and other businesses alike.
To register your site, follow the links at http://ecomworld.com.au.
We hope you enjoy the November edition of eComWorld, out now. If you have any suggestions, comments, or ideas for case studies, please don't hesitate to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.