I should explain what I mean by that - although there are many factors that contribute to a good online shopping experience, to me, it really all boils down to whether you can easily and quickly get what you buy. It’s pretty disappointing when you expect to receive something, only to find out they’re out of stock and won’t be able to ship your order until a later date, or when the site itself is down (possibly due to the high network traffic from avid online shoppers).
While this is frustrating from the customer’s perspective, from the retailer’s point of view, making sure that their system is always available, and ensuring that online orders are synchronized with their inventory doesn’t happen out of thin air: they need a solution to capture and deliver data changes between the two systems. Without a data synchronization solution, what’s displayed on a retailer’s site may not reflect what’s actually in stock, or the site might suffer from frequent downtime because there’s no secondary system to serve as a backup. If this happens too frequently, I’m sure shoppers (including myself) will go elsewhere for their holiday gift hunting.
I’m not saying the aesthetics and user experience of online shopping don’t matter, but it’s important to not forget about the things behind the scenes that ultimately affect whether you get what you want easily and quickly. Here’s hoping that online retailers continue to appreciate the importance of data synchronization (and that I won’t have to resort to crowded malls for my holiday shopping).