As every year, November is here to kick off a new Christmas shopping season, which promises to break all the records online once again. 31% of German shoppers start their Christmas shopping in November, while 34% will do so during the first two weeks of December. This season will be especially challenging for logistics as it is expected to reach a new record of shipments, but also rewarding for those retailers who place big bets on offering seamless and consistent omnichannel shopping experiences.
In the most remarkable season of the year (Google estimates 20% of the annual sales depend on the Christmas campaign performance), the smartphone cannot be forgotten, as it is a decisive touchpoint that enables other multiple interactions along the customer journey.
As a result, the customer journey is more complex and the competition extremely fierce. The race has just started for both buyers and sellers. Will consumer expectations be met? Who will be fully satisfied with the decisions taken? What is clear, whatever the answers to these questions are, is that the most important battle of the year for trade is played online!
The customers’ Christmas shopping preferences
Over the last years, the online retail traffic has never stopped growing. Actually, the online traffic in 2015 increased by 60% in comparison to the same period of the previous year, according to the study „X-Mas Consumer Journey” made by TNS for Google. But this growing tendency comes as no surprise because the Internet presents powerful advantages over brick and mortars stores.
German shoppers, who buy their Christmas presents online, highlighted the 24/7 availability, the chance of avoiding overcrowded city centres, and the wider range of offerings as the main reasons to do their Christmas shopping online.
- From November until Nikolaus day: to select the right present.
- During the first two weeks of December: to complete the purchase.
Therefore, brands, retailers, it is not necessary to start your Christmas campaigns in October! October is typically the month of accepting that Summer is over and thinking about new resolution ideas for fall, instead of getting inspired for a still far away Christmas time.
Why is mobile optimisation a plus?
Another important aspect to take into account about the customer behaviour during the Christmas season is the importance of mobile along the whole customer journey. However this is especially outstanding during the research stage and for local stores, according to Google.
59% of shoppers do their presents search online via smartphone but only 21% complete the purchase in the online channel and only 5% make the definite click via smartphone. Mobile payments are expanding their reach and improving their functionalities precisely to convert online mobile searchers into mobile shoppers.
Smartphone is also playing an important role in local searches due to its comfort and ease for spontaneity. 36% of German “last minute” shoppers use local online services and 16% of German shoppers use online maps, local apps and the click-to-call option.
It is also important to note that 75% of brick and mortar shoppers use their mobile devices in-store. Therefore, mobile website optimisation is more decisive than ever!
Alibaba “Singles’ Day” set a new sales record
Precisely, one of the impressive numbers that the Alibaba Single’s Day left last Friday was that 85% of purchases were made on mobile phones:
— Alibaba Group (@AlibabaGroup) 11 November 2016 «
Alibaba set a new sales record in the largest online shopping day of the world: $17.79 billion, representing an increase of 32% with respect to the previous year. This excellent results confirmed that China is going in the right direction towards innovation and that the Chinese e-commerce is really in very good health.
Is worth to mention that Alibaba placed big bets on omni-channel as this year’s event offered a true omni-channel experience with a fashion show and a TV gala during which customers could preorder products. The US winners were by far Apple, Nike, and New Balance.
More information about it can be found here.
Black Friday in the horizon
Still with the 11/11 hangover, will the same happen in the West during the Black Friday (25/11)? Will Amazon or Zalando surprise us? Certainly those that play their cards wisely will definitely boost their online sales. But how they play, is still uncertain. We will be vigilant!