Did you shop online during the 2016 holiday season? If so, you contributed to a newly entrenched trend: using eCommerce services to buy gifts for family and friends.
As Forbes reports, “Forrester Research predicted early on that online sales for November and December 2016 would be more than $110 billion, a 13% rise over 2015.” It’s still a little early for the final numbers to be tabulated, but a big rise in online holiday purchases over the past few years makes the prediction sound right on the mark.
Adding credence to the forecast, Forbes also reports, “While the November shopping season was off to a bumpy start as a result of the U.S. presidential election and all the uncertainty that came with it, the holiday shopping season, at least for web retailers, has been incredibly strong.”
Consumers and Retailers After Christmas
After receiving Christmas gifts, most consumers are materialistically content. The last thing they’re thinking about is drawing up next year’s Christmas list. However, retailers have different objectives in mind; they constantly forecast repeating business opportunities to make a bigger financial impact the next time around.
For many retailers, there’s no better time to put eCommerce services under a business microscope than the two months leading up to Christmas. When retailers look back on Christmas 2016, there are three major phenomena they’ll consider when mapping out sales and marketing plans for Christmas 2017. In addition to hopefully generating better revenue margins, the decisions they make will hopefully improve the consumer shopping experience.
1. eCommerce Continues to Outpace Brick and Mortar
The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicted a 3.6% sales increase for physical stores during the 2016 holidays and a double-digit percentage increase for online retailers. It turns out the predictions were more than merely correct.
2016 marked the biggest revenue totals ever for Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving in the U.S.). Adobe tabulates the earnings at over $3.3 billion. In addition, the company writes in its digital marketing blog that, “The holiday season is growing at breakneck speed… Just a few years ago, we were excited about having three $1-billion days — and this year, we’ll have as many as 57 of them!”
In 2017, expect retailers to have increased bandwidth for online shopping, more online shopping incentives, and deals and products that are only available to online shoppers. By Christmas 2017, Santa will slide down lots of digital chimneys in addition to ones made of brick and mortar.
2. Amazon: The King of Holiday Retail
Amazon is one of the biggest retailers on the planet, but the company recorded holiday sales in 2016 that were impressive even by its own monolithic standards, raking in close to 50% of all holiday retail purchases, with a high percentage of “last minute” purchases.
The company improved its delivery infrastructure “to compensate for some of the challenges of traditional shippers and to generate sales from last minute shoppers,” as Forbes reports. Not long ago, Amazon was criticized for tardy, unreliable delivery during periods of heavy eCommerce. Now, through the use of its Flex and Prime Now shipping features, it’s become one of the best retailers for timely freight delivery.
Come winter 2017, expect other retailers to have rolled out similar eCommerce services for expediting deliveries, competing with Amazon for last minute holiday shopping.
3. Mobile is Major for eCommerce Sales
Adobe reported that, in 2016, “Through early December, half of web traffic and 30% of retail sales came from mobile sites.” One of the main keys to all of those sales might surprise you: retailer email campaigns aimed at segmented target audiences of consumers.
Email is one of the primary applications people use on mobile devices. When retailers combine skillful marketing emails with highly secure websites that are optimized for mobile, they create a synergy of eCommerce services that is perfect for holiday shopping.
During winter 2017, expect a more streamlined mobile shopping experience from retailers at large. They will be investing in eCommerce services (e.g. responsive web design, email marketing, earned media, etc.) to make it happen.
About Allied Wallet
Allied Wallet is a global provider of PCI DSS compliant merchant accounts, eWallets, and related eCommerce services. We serve 196 countries and accept 194 currencies, making it truly possible for merchants and consumers to enjoy the benefits of a worldwide eCommerce experience, without the worry of their sensitive financial or personal data reaching the wrong hands.
If you are a merchant or individual who needs new or better eCommerce services to take advantage of shopping during the holidays and the rest of the year, call us in the U.S. at (888) 255-1137, call us in the U.K. at +44 203 318 8334, or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to analyzing your situation and recommending right solutions for your needs!