Retailers predict double-digit increases in holiday season revenue
The eCommerce industry has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the past five years due to the economic recession, but it seems the majority of retailers fully anticipate the upcoming holiday season to be a big one. A new report from Baynote and the e-Tailing Group found that as many as 60 percent of retailers are cautiously optimistic about the upcoming holiday season, predicting revenue growth in excess of 10 percent.
Such double-digit growth would be in line with year-over-year results observed over the past few quarters. The message is clear: Merchants need to improve their eCommerce operations to keep up with growing consumer demand, and their websites, in-store layouts and mobile platforms need to facilitate an intuitive shopping experience to capture these sales.
More than one-third of respondents (38 percent) project year-over-year holiday season revenue growth between 11 and 20 percent, with 22 percent anticipating improvements by more than 21 percent. In general, retailers believe the holiday season will start slow in November, with sales really kicking into high-gear throughout December as the end of the month approaches.
Omnichannel holiday shopping
In particular, digital channels will be a key driver of holiday sales.
Online retailers project they will steal a significant portion of sales away from traditional brick-and-mortar stores – after all, the convenience of shopping at home is that much more attractive when faced with the proposition of heading out into the dead of winter to wait in lines at physical shops.
Respondents also noted the growing relevance of mobile channels to online shopping, with 53 percent expecting smartphone and tablet-based transactions to account for a significant part of holiday revenue.
“The survey demonstrates that retailers are expecting to benefit from mobile investments made in the weeks and months leading up to the holiday season,” according to Dan Darnell, vice president of marketing and product at Baynote. “By using mobile as a tool to drive discovery, in-store purchases and overall customer experience, retailers will increase customer connectivity and be able to provide information and incentives that will encourage customers to complete transactions and engage with the brand post-sale.”
Convenience is the key factor for consumers deciding where they want to shop. According to a separate report from Continuum, as many as 43 percent of respondents said they choose to shop online because of the convenience factor it brings to the table. Additionally, 29 percent said it’s easier to find what they want online, which can be a major factor when making last-minute holiday purchases.
Regardless of whether retailers operate online, in physical stores or via mobile channels, it’s critical they engage consumers how and where is most convenient. Effective eCommerce software and order management systems that tie all of these various channels together can help brands better reach consumers via the avenues they prefer to shop through.