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With 38% of attempted online orders not arriving in time for Christmas 2000 and 17% not arriving at all, XO Communications is teaming up with Intershop to provide UK online retailers with the advice and solutions they need to prepare their e-commerce facilities for the increased Christmas trade demand.

XO Communications, broadband communications services provider and Intershop, a leading provider of e-commerce software, are advising UK businesses that the deadline for getting their systems and infrastructure ready for the busy online Christmas period is approaching very fast. Businesses are being urged to follow XO and Intershop’s ‘4 Steps to a Happy e-Christmas’ in order to fully prepare for the anticipated surge in traffic leading up to Christmas.

Step 1. Intelligent Design Preparation For Seasonal Demand Shift

- How will the website cope with surges in user traffic?

- Can your web designers deliver according to your specific Christmas marketing needs?

Step 2. Are You Crash-Proof? Ensure Systems Are In Place

- Hosting and bandwidth capacity - how much traffic could your website and bandwidth handle before you are faced with a drastic slowdown or even a complete crash?

- Online payment procedures and security - do you manually process all online payments?

- What are the security implications of taking customers’ credit details online without using specialist secure payment gateways?

Step 3. What Products Do You Want To Promote?

- Do you want your online product range to exactly mirror your high street stores?

- Do you want to increase your stock variety and quantity?

Step 4. Don’t Overstretch Your Resources

- Will your staff be able to manage the increase in provisioning on top of other on-going projects?

- How much should be invested in IT and fulfilment?

“Many businesses, particularly those new to online retail, will severely underestimate the lead times in getting an e-commerce site fully up and running in time for the Christmas trade,” said Mike Read, European president and managing director of XO Communications. ”Making preparations for seasonal surges in online retail demand should begin early. Certainly this includes the design, content and fulfilment processes of the site. But, problems with site performance in the run-up to Christmas can be even more fundamental and an issue of under-specified hosting and connectivity infrastructure. The solution lies in working with a service provider who can understand your requirements and respond with flexible and imaginative solutions.”

New studies suggest that orders lost last Christmas through poor site design or performance could be as high as $1 billion in the USA alone (Source: Boston Consulting, January 2001). Christmas sees huge demands for online retail with 19th and 20th December being the peak days. For many firms, this year’s e-Christmas could represent nearly a third of the year’s total online retailing, with sales volumes and size of individual sales increasing annually.

“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, managing director, 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.”

Neil Ellul, managing director, European Ecommerce Association said :"It's become something of a tradition that every year there's a massive underestimation of the impact of Christmas on e-commerce. Retailers are beginning to grasp the need for an early and thorough review of hosting, software and logistical requirements to prepare for the seasonal demand. XO and Intershop's e-Christmas initiative is a strong reminder of the need to dust down your seasonal e-tail plans when the sun's shining rather than later".

To help companies make the most of their e-Christmas, XO and Intershop have combined their offerings to offer e-commerce solutions based on:

· XO Commerce – which addresses the management of IT infrastructure and provides e-commerce software from Intershop.

· XO Seasonal Hosting – which lets customers order short-term additional bandwidth to handle increased web site traffic.

· XO Consulting & Professional – which offers services to help businesses take a phased approach to reviewing requirements, planning and implementing solutions.

XO and Intershop have launched a web site designed to help companies prepare for a very Merry Christmas,

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For more information, please contact:

Matthew Fisher, GBC, 020 8322 1922,

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Onechocolate Communications in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit