In the past three years, we’ve seen Black Friday become the biggest peak period for online retailing.
In 2014, online retailers were caught by surprise by customers’ demands, but many have quickly learned their lesson and made significant improvements in subsequent years. These improvements have of course translated into higher sales.
According to a recent report released by IMRG, the UK’s total online retail spend for Black Friday 2016 was 330% higher than a typical Friday, with Cyber Monday 232% higher than a typical Monday.
This puts things into perspective, but as Black Friday significantly grows every year, trading patterns and shopping behaviour are affected as well.
According to IMRG, a large number of customers are using Black Friday for Christmas shopping which leads to lower sales volumes in December. At the same time, while people increase their spend during the discounting period, in most cases they don’t return for repeat purchases.
This emphasises even more that customer service should be a high priority for online merchants. They have to choose their discounts and bundles with care and favour loyal customers that stay with the business for a long period of time.
Offering a seamless shopping experience on smartphones should also be a high priority. IMRG’s report reveals that in November 2016, 51% of total mobile device sales were processed through smartphones, compared with the previous year when smartphone sales accounted for 39% of mobile device sales.
Another critical aspect retailers must consider during the peak periods is the return rate.
A survey from Barclaycard found that shoppers spent an average of £183 during peak sales, but intended to return 70% of their total purchase, amounting to £128. The main reasons behind this behaviour were:
• 30% said that items did not fit
• 24% said that online purchases looked different than they expected when they arrived
• 22% said the item did not suit them when they tried it
Merchants should also keep in mind that discounts make products seem more appealing and customers often give in to impulse shopping.
However, once the euphoria passes they’re not interested in the product anymore and want to return it. When it comes to returns peaks, IMRG’s report highlighted 5th December and 4th January as key days.
Savvy retailers know they need to prepare for the big sales peaks ahead of time. We always strive to provide useful information to our community so you’re ready for higher sales volumes.
If you would like to know more about the main peak periods during the year and how to maximise profits during these sales windows, please read our Peak Period Countdown Guide or get in touch with our team.