It may be a few months away yet, but the first signs of Christmas are visible in high street stores, online shops and email marketing campaigns already. For many retailers, both online and traditional shops, the run up to Christmas is the high point of the year for sales. If you are looking at branching out from a physical shop to having an online presence, then now is the time to do it to maximise on the holiday sales. Also, if you are already on the web, don’t underestimate the buying power of the internet users this year, as last year saw online spends overtake high street shoppers for the first time ever.
Online shopping is big business, as it is a more convenient way for people to shop around for the best deals and buy in their free time. All purchases are delivered to the customer’s home, and they can even shop on the go on smart phones or tablets. Of all smartphone users, 23.1% say they use their device for browsing online retailers and many purchase this way. If you run an ecommerce site, it is therefore in your best interests to optimise your site for mobile and tablet users to get the highest conversion rate possible. It’s worth remembering too that 6.8% of shoppers will do their Christmas shopping online during work hours, so make sure your site is suitable for work and won’t get blocked by spam filters for heavy use of flash or large images.
The UK was named the top online spending nation in a report by Ofcom last year, averaging over £1000 per head on online shopping higher than any other country in the study. Last Christmas is it estimated that 54.2% of all shopping was done online, 40% in store, and the remainder from catalogues and shopping channels. The only real disparity in these findings is the generation gap, with the over 55s still preferring to do 54.8% of their shopping in real shops and the younger generation favouring the internet even more than the average figure.
If you are taking your business to the online market, you will need to ensure you have the best security measures in place. Ecommerce sites are a big target for cyber criminals in search of credit card details, and personal information about your customers. You will need a security certificate if you are using your own payment system, or alternatively you can use a third party site such as PayPal to collect payment, a method which may help the peace of mind of your customer. The average cost of cybercrime to US businesses last year was $591,780, an increase of 6% on the previous year according to Symantec, so whilst online selling is a big opportunity, it is not without risk (part 1 of this infographic can be found here).
This Christmas the way to get ahead of the game is to focus on your online presence. The average spend on the web is set to increase again this year and is now the biggest piece of the Christmas shopping pie. Make sure to get in on the action securely and you’ll be ho, ho, ho-ing all the way to the bank.