January 9

Ecommerce at Christmas – What Can I Expect?

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For many online retailers, Christmas is the busiest time of year. Unless you exclusively sell Halloween costumes or Easter decor you should experience a boom in traffic and sales. Various sources report that the holiday season can account for 20 – 40 % of a retailer’s total annual revenue. And every year more people are choosing to avoid the crowds and shop from the comfort of their homes.

But what does this mean for you, as an ecommerce business?

You need to prepare. Have you considered special discounts, shopping incentives and increased marketing efforts? Perhaps you can’t compete with the big players like Amazon or Best Buy, but you can seize your slice of the festive pie.

To give you that competitive edge, here are six things you can expect from the Christmas trading perio1d)...The Stats

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of things like Cyber Monday and consumer behaviors, let’s first take a look at some stats. Knowing your numbers is an excellent way to prepare for a massive retail event like Christmas and New Year.

Online shopping is now the most popular way to buy Christmas gifts, according to a recent survey. In 2013, 50% of American survey respondents said they completed more than half of their Christmas shopping online. Only 16% said they didn’t do any shopping online. In the UK, a whopping 61% of shoppers bought more than half of their gifts online.

The fact is - Christmas is busy! There are long hours at the office and a seemingly endless stream of events to attend. Online shopping provides a convenient, discreet and stress-free way to buy gifts.
That explains why 2013’s Black Friday saw total online takings of $1.2 billion and 66 million online shoppers on that one day alone.

Feeling a little overwhelmed yet?

2)Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Traditionally speaking, the Christmas gift-buying frenzy begins the day after Thanksgiving with Black Friday. Though you may see an increase in sales from as early as September – there are some very organized people out there making the rest of us look bad.

For online retailers, Cyber Monday (the Monday after Black Friday) marks the start of online Christmas shopping. Although Black Friday has become almost as popular online as it is in bricks and mortar stores. Bryan Roberts, retail insights director at Kantar Retail explains why Cyber Monday is so successful:

"Everyone's just been paid, it's the final paycheck that they can feasibly use to order online to guarantee delivery in time for Christmas and a lot of people have generally been in the stores for general Christmas shopping anyway.”

3)Green Monday

The second Monday in December is basically Cyber Monday version 2.0.

Green Monday, as it is now known, was identified in 2007. It was found that on this day, shoppers get a second wind and hurry to buy gifts that will arrive in time for the holidays. Last year, Green Monday shoppers collectively spent $1.4 billion dollars online. This was up 10% on the previous year’s total of
$1.2 billion.

Take advantage of Cyber and Green Monday by offering incentives such as discounts or free shipping.

4)Mobile and Tablet Usage

Mobile commerce has become increasingly popular over the last few years. Smartphones and tablets offer consumers a way to shop from anywhere - on the train, in bed and during lunch breaks at work.

Last year’s Cyber Monday saw sales via mobile and tablets approach $400 million dollars in the US alone. With the launch of several big devices this year, including the iPhone 6, that number is only set to increase.

Don’t miss out on this vital source of traffic. Accommodate consumer behaviors by ensuring your website is optimized for a variety of devices.

5)Price-Savvy Consumers

Consumers become much savvier at Christmas. They may be spending more money overall, but they intend to squeeze every last deal out of individual purchases. As Julian Douch of Open Reply puts it, “Today’s tech-savvy consumer is needy, demanding, outspoken and has higher expectations than ever. They want a premium experience.

Consumers will shop around for the best prices, and not just on products. Shipping costs and other extras like gift-wrapping also factor.

Customer service is more important than ever; shoppers expect a personalized experience, even online. Whether that’s bespoke email messages, easy to reach (and friendly) customer support or special deals on the products they love. Christmas is a time for giving, so give your customers the kind of service that’ll make them sing with joy.

6)January Sales

If you thought the shopping stopped dead on Christmas day and didn’t pick up again until at least February, think again. A surprising amount of people are back online by Boxing Day hunting for more bargains.

Traditionally the New Year Sales started in January (hence the name), but they’re getting earlier every year. Some companies have even been known to discount goods on Christmas Eve.

It’s now customary for sales to start immediately after Christmas, so be prepared for yet more discounts and yet more shopping!


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Trevor Sorbie

MOJO Bar

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