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Published on June 16th, 2017 | by The GC Team

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Ecommerce consultancy predicts November will become the new Christmas shopping month

Global ecommerce consultancy Salmon, which correctly predicted the first £1bn online day in 2015 and coined the phrase BlackFiveday last year, has prophesied that November 2017 will see a record £20bn spent online and will overtake December as the year’s peak trading month.

It has already been predicted that £7bn is expected to be spent over the Black Friday week (Monday 20th November – Monday 27th November).  The figures show a shift in buying behaviours as consumers now look to November sales as the best time for bargains.

Last year Salmon’s own data saw conversion rates (the proportion of visitors to a site resulting in a purchase) double the normal weekly rate to 106%, up 10% on the previous year.

“As sales this year are set to overtake 2016, retailers should begin planning their online operations during the peak period now,” the consultancy said.

Rupal Karia, managing director for retail and hospitality at Fujitsu UK, didn’t view Salmon’s prediction as earthshattering.  “The idea that November is to surpass Christmas as the month for festive shopping isn’t unthinkable, given how successful last year was,” he said.

“The run up to Black Friday showered shoppers with a plethora of deals, and this year November seems likely to be even bigger.

“November clearly offers a wealth of opportunities for retailers, but if they are to embrace it for its full potential they need to ensure they are well prepared for it.”  

Karia suggested that equipping staff in-store with mobile devices that enable them to take payments on the shop floor will reduce queuing, speed up the checkout process and create a more enjoyable Christmas shopping experience.

He also said it is vital that retailers ensure their omni-channel offerings can cater for all customers, both in-store visitors and digital-first shoppers.

“Retailers ought to be testing their web and mobile sites rigorously in the months prior to ensure they are well equipped to handle high volumes of traffic, as any outages will cause shoppers to go elsewhere,” he said.

Karia also advised retailers to take a holistic view of all their inventory and stressed the need to have a network system that aligns stock in-store, online and in their warehouses in order to manage their product during the busiest time of the year.

“The festive period can either grow or kill a business, so it is vital that retailers focus on ensuring operations run as smoothly and efficiently as possible to deliver the best customer experience if they are to reap the rewards of the peak season and Christmas shopping.”

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