The snow of early this week highlighted just how important the internet has become to society. Retailers should take every opportunity they get to benefit from this.

After the white stuff left Monday a washout for many, people turned to their home computers to fulfil their needs. Employees logged on to their companies' systems from home, and it wasn’t long before news websites and friends’ Facebook pages were full of pictures people had taken of themselves out enjoying the snow.

Hitwise has reported that Monday was the busiest day ever for weather websites in the UK, and transport websites also strained under the weight of traffic. Hitwise analyst Robin Goad also pointed out that with the football transfer window closing that day, the BBC Sport and Sky Sports websites also saw heavy traffic.

It’s not yet clear by how much online retailers may have benefited from the reduction in footfall on the UK’s high streets that day. But after consumers logged on and decided that they definitely weren’t going to make it in to work, it’s almost certain that once they had been out to enjoy the snow, they came back inside and went back online.

Savvy online retailers will have been ready to quickly respond to the types of products consumers were looking for that day, and merchandise their sites appropriately. With the melt happening just as quickly as the big freeze came on, it’s hopeful that the resulting deliveries will not have been too badly impacted later in the week.

This week has shown that the web has become a lifeline to the outside world for many. The Digital Britain interim report presented to Parliament last week backs up the anecdotal evidence of the last few days.

The report highlighted the success of technology as an enabler for the wider economy. It said: ‘Our take up of first generation broadband has grown faster than that of almost all the other major economies. Britain has the highest proportion of internet advertising of any developed economy. By 2012£1 in every£5 of all new commerce in this country will be online.’

The report continued: ‘More importantly, the digital economy underpins our whole economy and builds our national competitiveness. Our readiness to adopt digital technology has driven productivity gains throughout our wider economy.’

At a time when it is cold outside, the web is still the hottest place to be right now.