In 2014, shoppers spent $45 billion in the lead-up to Christmas,1 with 6.8% of sales occurring online in December.2 If you're an online retailer then it's definitely worth asking, do you know where your sales are coming from this year?
There's no doubt that shopping behaviours are changing as consumers turn to online retail and smartphones to complete their Christmas shopping.
According to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index,2 year-on-year growth in online retail has been fairly consistent. In December 2012, online purchases comprised 5.8% of the size of traditional retailing. By December 2013, this had grown to 6.5%; and by December 2014, it was up to 6.8%.
With all the hype around online retail this year, will we see exponential growth this Christmas? Could online sales crack 8 or 9% of all sales? Whether it does or not, the fact remains that Australians now spend a huge amount online – and online retailers have a great opportunity to capture a piece of this pie.
To be competitive in the lead-up to Christmas, you need customers. And to reach them, you need to know where they're coming from.
Given the constant evolution of online retail, it can be difficult to pin down stats about the places people are researching and buying online. Are they visiting branded websites, marketplaces like eBay or Amazon, or perhaps social sites like Facebook or Pinterest?
Even today, we see new buying behaviours develop within demographics – for example, younger people are much more likely to shop via social than any other group.
Retailers who succeed online share a common tactic: they extend their channel reach and then funnel customers through their product pages and check-out.
Whether you're selling via your website, social channel or marketplace store, you still need to drive traffic to your wares. Leading online retailers rarely rely on a single marketing tactic for results. They often put into place a whole toolbox3 of activities well before the festive season starts:
Once you've sorted out your leads and have customers funnelling in, it's important to make sure your eCommerce site performs for your Christmas crowds.
You can't put a value on good old fashioned customer service. If you're overwhelmed with enquiries (which is a good thing, right?) or noticing some hiccups, look for ways to remain in touch with your customers and consider expanding your capabilities next year – for example, setting up a dedicated Christmas call centre or updating your hardware.
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