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Beyond Green Monday – the best is yet to come for online retailers

Green Monday, Cyber Monday and Black Friday – said to be the biggest shopping days in the run-up to Christmas – have been and gone. However, online sales are set to peak much later this year, so there’s still time to refine your marketing tactics

Originating in the US, ‘super shopping days’ have also become huge events in the UK retail calendar. This year’s Black Friday saw British shoppers spend £810million online, according to analysts at IMRG. This was followed by £650million on Cyber Monday – a 26% increase on last year’s spend.

Online retail giants Amazon and Apple were the first to fuel the UK trend and now high street brands have adopted the dates. However, many websites were caught off-guard this year by a record increase in demand – John Lewis, Argos and Tesco Direct struggled to cope with the increased traffic on Black Friday, while frustrated visitors to the Currys site were forced to wait up to an hour in a virtual queue.

Great expectations

The good news for online retailers is that the Christmas shopping frenzy is set to continue and may not even have peaked yet.

Almost half of British shoppers feel confident enough in retailers’ delivery capabilities to place an online order by Wednesday, December 17th and still receive it in time for Christmas, according to eDigitalResearch/IMRG.

Industry watchers and businesses themselves are also predicting an online spending surge much closer to Christmas. More than half of retailers in the UK and Ireland believe increased consumer confidence in delivery services such as Click & Collect means traffic from Cyber Monday will be eclipsed later on in the month:

“Will Cyber Monday be your busiest day?”

s cyber monday the busiest shopping day

Source: Statista 2014

There’s still time to maximise your online sales…

Here are three last minute ways to leverage your business’ online presence this Christmas:

Check your website’s functionality

Customers demand reliability – 58% of shoppers in a survey by Retail Week say a well-designed, easy-to-use website is one of the top three factors that will influence them to spend with a particular retailer online (behind price and quality).

Last minute fix…

Test the functionality of your website from a customer’s point-of-view, particularly the shopping cart and checkout experiences – notorious as the points customers are most likely to become frustrated and ditch your site.

Leverage your paid search (PPC) campaigns

People who search are a particularly valuable audience. According to Google, they’re 1.5 times more likely to buy than those who don’t use search: they know exactly what they’re looking for and are already at the buying stage. People who search during the holidays are also much more likely to buy than those who search at other times of the year:

Conversion rate of digital shoppers

conversion rate of digital shoppers
Source: Think With Google 2014

Last minute fix…

Optimise your paid search (PPC) campaigns. You can adjust the settings in your account at any time during a campaign to ensure your ads are targeting the right people at the right time. You may also want to review and tweak your ads’ wording to emphasise their relevancy to potential users, paying particular attention to headlines and calls-to-action.

Get active on social media

Christmas is a time of year for sharing  – and social media now plays a vital role in influencing customers’ festive buying decisions. Studies suggest that almost half of internet shoppers check a brand’s social media before buying, while 30% of online shoppers say they’ve made a purchase as a result of seeing a company’s post.

Last minute fix…

Review your presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest so the message you’re sending to customers aligns with the rest of your marketing channels. Use them to showcase new or discounted products and encourage shares. Don’t be afraid to get in the Christmas spirit and have fun with your posts.

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