‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’
In the UK, we love picking up trends from across the pond and the weekend of the 29th of November was no different. Black Friday, followed swiftly by Cyber Monday, were two of the biggest shopping days in the commerce calendar. £555.5 million was spent on Black Friday alone according to research agency IMRG, with a staggering £810 million in online spend. Surprisingly this figure was more than Cyber Monday’s estimation, (£650million) with critics putting the dip down to online sellers struggling to deal with the amount of online shoppers. With the second Monday of December ominously named ‘Manic Monday’, and the Christmas shopping period just around the corner, retailers on and offline have got a heavy few weeks ahead of them.
So if you are an online retailer using Volo's multi channel software, what is the best way of preparing for the rush of shoppers to your site? Analysts suggest that cutting prices too early could result in a business going bust. With the arrival of tablets and smartphones, shopping and comparing prices whilst on the go has become much easier with smartphone use up 138% in the last year. The ‘winners’, analysts say, are the ones that can meet the customer’s needs instantly, with either ‘same day delivery’ or ‘click and collect’ options. Customer service must also be set up at a high standard, with consumers suggesting help and advice should be given in-store, even when the product was bought online.
To make your online Christmas and New Year run smoothly, here are three important tips:
- The full process of the sale should be flawless. Website stores not only need to have an easy to use design for customers to navigate, but also immediate assistance to any problems or questions that arise. Of course, there will always be the problem of the numbers of people that come to your site over this period but making the customer feel like they are getting a decent experience is vital.
- According to Anne Giulianotti, a director at marketing researcher GFK, delivery prices are an obstacle that all online retailers need to take into account. Almost half of customers surveyed said this is the main reason why they would be put off buying a product. A solution to this problem could be introducing a click and collect service which can increase nationally where there’s demand.
- Making sure your online store is smartphone or tablet friendly should be a priority, especially as more than 50% of traffic comes through here. Customers want to be able to achieve tasks without any slip ups and being able to get from product information to a pay screen in easy steps can make all the difference.
Along with this, retailers who sell internationally will also have to think about time zones, cultural differences and specific Christmas messaging and imagery to maximise their sales abroad. Unfortunately the holiday period will always be busy and one of our most important tips is not to give up, even when the January sales hit. Working so the business runs smoothly will not only keep consistency but also keep your customers happy