For many online stores, the lead up to Christmas is your biggest sales season of the year.
It is one time of year when you can pretty much guarantee that shoppers will be out in force, spending money like it grows on trees!
It can be tempting to sit back and rely on gift-buying Christmas shoppers just coming your way.
But that would be a BIG mistake!
The holiday season is a very busy time for marketers and advertisers. Trying to get any kind of cut-through at this time of year is much, much harder!
So you really need to understand your customers’ Christmas shopping behaviour and put some thought into HOW you will attract those big-spending gift-buyers to your website!
Here are 7 insights into online Xmas shopping behaviour…
1. Mobile shopping
30% of shoppers completed a purchase on their mobile device during the 2018 holiday season.
And the rate of mobile commerce is steadily increasing by about 10-15% per year.
As an eCommerce marketing expert, I see many many many websites that have a poor mobile shopping experience.
And there are some common pain points that cause shoppers to give up trying to buy from a Mobile website:
- Website page load speed too slow (27%)
- Unclear images (26%)
- Font size too small to read (23%)
- Product information too difficult to see (27%)
- Content doesn’t fit on screen (25%)
That’s at least a quarter of your holiday shoppers potentially lost due to fixable technical issues with your website!
One of the biggest causes for these problems is that the business owner, or the person responsible for the website, is only looking at it on their desktop.
It is now IMPERATIVE that your website works just as well, if not better, on mobile!
2. Video is king
Nearly 50% of shoppers during the 2018 holiday season watched video content posted in stories across social media platforms.
And Over 60% of shoppers said that videos showing products being worn or used helped them to make a purchase decision.
Now if you tell me that you hate being in front of the camera or you’re too nervous to shoot live video – I’m with you! It’s not my favourite pastime either.
But the clients of mine who are experiencing the fastest, biggest growth, are all making frequent use of video content on social media.
3. Customer service has gone social
Instant messaging via social media channels increased a lot last year.
28% of Aussie shoppers said they messaged a business during the holiday season.
And 39% of holiday shoppers indicated they would be more likely to buy from a business if they could contact it through instant messaging.
Given 48% of customers are researching gift ideas, product information and reviews on their mobile phone, there is a high chance that instant messaging will continue to rise.
I know how hard it is for all businesses to make money from their social media pages and we all need to pay to advertise now.
But by offering helpful and prompt customer service via instant messaging, you WILL make more money this Christmas!
4. Christmas shopping starts earlier
I know we like to have a laugh that Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns start selling in Woollies on Boxing Day…
But did you know – in Australia, nearly 20% of customers start their gift buying in October! That’s compared to 10% around the world.
This means you really need to be thinking about and planning your Christmas marketing much earlier in the year, otherwise you miss the boat.
It also means – your Christmas marketing needs to be sustained over a longer period of time.
I’ll share more tips on planning your holiday marketing campaigns later, but think of it in three stages:
- Early bird buyers want what’s new and want to be organised
- Volume buyers will buy in November, taking advantage of specials such as Black Friday, and
- December buyers get a bit desperate and respond well to free express shipping and gift voucher offers.
5. Black Friday / Cyber Monday is HUGE worldwide
Black Friday / Cyber Monday is a huge online sales event that started in the USA.
It starts at the end of November, the day after Thanksgiving, so it’s kinda a bit like Australia’s good old Boxing Day Sale. Only before Christmas.
Typically Black Friday / Cyber Monday is a 4 day sale event, and it never used to be that big of a deal in Australia.
But in 2018 – it grew by 50-55%!
And that growth is likely to continue this year, which means you want to be on board and prepared!
I can say even from my own client base, most experienced a big uptake of sales in that 4 days.
The key is to be able to sustain Christmas promotional messaging from Black Friday at the end of November, right up until Christmas.
6. Customers want a smooth online shopping experience
Friction slows shoppers down. But issues aren’t always caused by technical issues with the website.
Here’s what else is important to your online shoppers at Christmas time:
- Delivery timeframe (67%)
- Product availability (86%)
- Free shipping (70%)
- Customer service (73%)
The holiday season is the one time of the year that your customer service team needs to be on its A-Game!
I know not everything is within your control. Namely – shipping and delivery times.
But do whatever you can to make this simple:
- Choose the most reliable shipping options you can (not necessarily the cheapest).
- Get some help with customer service, especially manning your social media messages.
- And try to keep on top of product availability in your marketing and on your website. (For example – don’t keep sending an email or showing an ad that promotes a product you’ve sold out of!)
7. Free shipping works!
I know that shipping is a huge cost for every eCommerce business and we all want to try and reduce the impact of that cost on our bottom lines.
But the statistics on Christmas shopping behaviour are hard to ignore on this…
70% of holiday shoppers in Australia said free shipping was important to them when making a gift purchase decision!
Two tips from my own experience:
- The closer to Christmas you get, if you can offer free EXPRESS shipping you will easily convert a lot more sales than you would otherwise! And
- Full price + Free Shipping generally outsells Discount price + shipping.
What do you have planned for your Christmas promotions this year?
I’d love you to let me know in the comments below!
And tell me – which of these insights into customer Christmas shopping behaviour was the biggest revelation to you?