When London was awarded the 2012 Olympic Games we heard many experts say how this will be beneficial to UK businesses. There are however certain problems which could arise as the event is taking place and companies need to prepare for them. Here is our list of some of the difficulties that could specifically affect online retailers:
1. Deliveries - couriers and delivery companies are already preparing themselves for the disruptions across the transport networks which are expected to happen whilst the Games are taking place. Many have said they will hire additional staff members to try and keep their services going. You should contact your courier and find out what steps they are taking to overcome those problems so that your orders are delivered to your customers in a timely manner.
2. Fraud - almost all of the reports on online fraud and the Olympics thus far have been concentrating on the impact on the consumer. But we expect that many e-commerce businesses will also be targeted by fraudsters during that time. This is why e-retailers should ensure that they have all the fraud prevention tools in place right now and apply extra vigilance to all of their transactions whilst the event is taking place over the summer weeks. Expect to see a rise in the number of fraudulent transactions being attempted, use the best fraud tools available and closely monitor your sales. Use SSL certificates and speak to your website host about what they are doing to keep your website safe. If you use your own server, then ensure that you have systems and plans in place to help you cope in case of any potential attacks.
3. Website access - you need to be prepared for the web to be very busy during the Olympics and even potentially for your website to be inaccessible because of that. This could be a problem especially for those online stores which share their hosting with other websites. In this case if any other website also hosted on your server suddenly receives a lot of traffic or is attacked then your store could become slower or even go completely offline. It is certainly safer to have a private server, but may not viable to many. There is still time for you to speak to your hosting provider and potentially upgrade your package to give you more bandwidth or even move to a faster server. Do all you can to ensure that your store is accessible at all times in this busy period.
The Olympics are a one off event so it can be easy to panic, but it's best to think of them in the same way as you would about the Christmas period. It could be your chance to lift sales and profits by a wide margin and many of the steps in the preparation to it will also be the same.
This year's games could be a great opportunity for any online business in the UK. Prepare well and reap the benefits.
The author works for PayPoint.net - merchant account provider
Follow Eva Grzybek on Twitter: www.twitter.com/paypointdotnet