E-Commerce Tips for the 2016 Holiday Season
Overall, online shoppers spent $11.1 billion during those five days in 2015, 17% more than they laid out in 2014. In fact, for the first time ever, online shoppers outnumbered in-store shoppers last Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Expectations for e-commerce growth this holiday season are therefore quite high, especially compared to expectations for overall retail growth:
- PwC forecasts a 10% increase in total holiday spending (including travel and entertainment) and a 25% jump in digital shopping;
- Deloitte sees total sales growing 3.6-4.0%, with e-commerce sales rising 17-19%;
- eMarketer predicts3% overall growth, even as online purchases go up 17.2%; and
- The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts a 3.6% expansion in overall sales, compared to a 7-10% increase in “non-store” sales.
In addition, eMarketer expects online sales to comprise 10% of all holiday purchases this year, which would also be a first. It’s not all bad news for brick-and-mortar retailers, though, at least in the short term. Even if that prediction holds, nearly 90% of the remaining sales (i.e., excluding catalog, phone, and other direct-to-consumer orders) will still take place in stores.
All the same, the long-term trend is undeniable: Digital retail traffic is growing — so much so that it’s having a measurable impact, known as the “Amazon Effect,” on retailers. With consumers choosing to browse and buy online more frequently, the lower foot traffic is having adverse consequences for many stores, including well-known, popular brands like Kohl’s, Nordstrom, and Macy’s.
Fortunately for retailers, the response is obvious: They need to adapt and cater to consumers’ changing behaviors. More to the point, and to take full advantage of the surge in e-commerce sales in November and December, retailers need to give their customers convenient, 24/7 access to the holiday items — and deals — they want and expect. That means going beyond offering desktop and laptop users a fully-functioning website; retailers need to have a strong mobile presence that provides a seamless shopping experience no matter where people might be.
Tom Caporaso is the CEO of premium loyalty solutions pioneer Clarus Commerce, with over 24 years of experience in the retail, e-business and customer loyalty industries. Appointed Clarus’ Chief Executive Officer in 2011, Tom’s leadership has led to exceptional growth for the once 10-person start-up which now boasts over 90 employees.
Under Tom’s guidance, Clarus has cultivated partnerships with brands and retailers such as MasterCard, FedEx, Bluestem Brands and Good Housekeeping; creating and managing premium loyalty programs that reward both the brand and its customers.
Caporaso is a noted expert in the retail, customer loyalty and e-commerce industries who contributes regularly to Nasdaq and has been frequently featured in numerous other outlets.