Webmasters operating e-commerce sites in the UK will see a spike in conversion rates over the next two months in the run-up to Christmas, according to a new report published by IMRG.

Analysts believe that e-commerce conversions could hit five per cent over the course of November and December, as more Brits use the web to browse for the products they want to buy this festive season.

For the past three years, annual growth in online sales has not increased, but analysts believe that Christmas 2013 will see this trend overturned, with a 15 per cent rise in e-commerce purchases anticipated as the year draws to a close.

Consumer confidence is still hanging by tenterhooks, but while this can be a problem for the high street, online retailers will be reaping the benefits, as buyers flock to the web in order to secure the items they need at lower prices.

Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) will become even more important at this time of year, because although sales will be on the rise, there will also be more competition than ever amongst e-commerce sites, as they jockey to secure the biggest slice of the retail spend over the next two months.

Whether you are increasing site traffic through the use of PPC ads or organic search ranking, it is important to make sure that landing pages are geared towards encouraging consumers to make a purchase, which means e-commerce web design needs to be as sensitive to their needs as possible, while remaining uncomplicated and easy to use.

Capgemini’s Chris Webster, explained that there are a number of factors that are influencing conversion rates this Christmas, pointing out that the rise in the usage of tablets and smartphones is going to have an impact on how many consumers are browsing e-commerce sites, while also indulging in other tasks.

In particular, Christmas Day and Boxing Day will be bumper periods for e-commerce sales because portable devices allow people to shop from their living rooms, or even the dining table. In the past, this would have required people to sneak off to the room containing the desktop PC, or balance an ungainly laptop somewhere, but m-commerce sites and apps remove the hassle from the process.

Some major retailers have even latched onto this trend with the release of own-brand tablets, which may not be a feasible tactic for most e-commerce sites, but does point to the importance of addressing m-commerce requirements, in order to increase conversions going forwards.

IMRG spokesperson, Tina Spooner, said that online retailers could expect to see conversion rates return to the kinds of levels that were being experienced before the economic slowdown began to bite into the market in recent years.

With all of these opportunities available, webmasters need to start putting in the work now, so that Christmas 2013 is one to remember. The prospect of competition might be daunting, but the potential rewards are enough to make the coming struggle worthwhile.