Last holiday season was a banner year for ecommerce companies with online purchases in the U.S. alone nearing $70 billion. And with more shoppers turning online for their holiday purchases, this year is expected to be even busier.
But with the vast opportunity that comes with over $1 trillion in spending expected this holiday season also comes ample competition. This means digital sellers have to work harder than ever to get the attention of shoppers. To keep up with the evolving expectations of customers and to maximize your revenue during this important time of year, I’ve put together four trends ecommerce merchants need to be ready for.
For many companies, as much as 40% of gross annual sales occur over the holiday season. However, the season is getting longer in recent years with considerable increases in revenue from “shoulder” holiday shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In addition, post-holiday sales on discounted items, gift exchanges, and gift card redemption have also seen a rise.
Taking these into consideration, the holiday shopping season easily stretches from November through to January. Although the holiday season is a busy time for most ecommerce companies, the growing prominence of these shopping days in the minds of potential customers provides more opportunities for increasing sales.
Accordingly, the holiday season should not be treated as one campaign, but rather as a series of campaigns tailored to leverage days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day when shoppers will be more likely to be online looking for deals.
Along with having a growing shopping window, American customers are also expected to spend up to 4% more compared to last year, or over $1 trillion overall. Increased consumer confidence and greater disposable income are thought to be major factors in this.
But another factor is an expected significant increase in non-gift purchases over the course of the holiday season with consumers intending to take advantage of special shopping days to make purchases for themselves. With 58% of shoppers reporting that they expect to make non-gift purchases during the holiday season, it seems that this year is not all about giving.
Continuing a growing trend, this year’s holiday season is expected to see a 17-19% increase in online purchases, with mobile traffic continuing to outpace desktop. Deloitte predicts that digital interactions will influence up to 67% of all holiday purchases with shoppers increasingly turning to their smartphones to research and make purchases. With up to 66% of online traffic is expected to be mobile, a responsive checkout process is even more crucial, as mobile shoppers are even more likely to abandon their carts than laptop users.
From slow loading times to prices displaying in a foreign currency, there are a lot of elements that can cause friction when buying online. And online shoppers have shown that they will be quick to abandon their purchase if a purchase is too difficult or takes too long. Forty percent of people will abandon a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.
Therefore, ecommerce companies need to make sure to adapt checkout processes to meet evolving customer expectations and to lower cart abandonment rates. This means creating faster and easier checkouts, while also accepting more forms of payment. For international customers, successful global payment processingrequires that carts in a customer’s local language and show prices in their local currency. All of these factors combined will help shoppers feel more comfortable throughout the checkout process and will lessen hesitation.
Shoppers are increasingly looking online for their holiday shopping needs because it offers convenience and a chance at finding the perfect deal. If you’re prepared to make it as easy as possible for all your diverse customers to finish their purchase, you’ll find success.