The past month has seen the nation’s largest department stores unveil their grand, over-the-top window displays, multiple Santa Grottos and tear jerker TV adverts in an attempt to grab consumer attention during the run up to the biggest shopping period of the entire year.
Industry body IMRG predicts high street spending will reach £40 billion this festive season, with online spending also expected to hit a record figure of £10 billion for the first time. This comes as UK retailers rush to embrace online consumers with seasonal deals, mobile optimised sites and alternative delivery options – all aimed at creating a seamless and efficient online shopping experience as an accessible alternative to the busy high streets.
With the Christmas shopping season officially underway, consumers are expected to flock to eCommerce sites for last minute delivery options in what has now been dubbed ‘Cyber Monday.’ Falling on the second Monday in December, UK researchers are predicting up to 10,000 orders per second over a 24-hour period, with spend expected to exceed £550 million.
While the high street has the US-themed Black Friday, Cyber Monday marks a monumental development for retailers as consumers continue to purchase on alternative devices, including tablets and smartphones – making this Christmas a truly mobile one. Much of the population will be waking up on Christmas Day to one of these devices carefully wrapped and waiting in their stocking.
Once the turkey has been eaten, the Christmas pudding devoured and the Queen’s speech aired, many of us will be in search of a bargain on Boxing Day, all eager to use our shiny, new tablet or smartphone. While many will brave the freezing high streets the day after Christmas, millions of Britons will trawl the seasonal sales from the comfort of their own sofa, with over 115 million visits to retail sites recorded in 2012.
Logistically, retailers need to ensure they have a strong online infrastructure in place to ensure their Christmas remains cheery. This will prevent slow page loading times, navigational issues or the worst possible scenario, a full blown website crash; a nightmare during the Christmas period, possibly resulting in thousands of pounds in lost revenue.
In light of this, UK retailers need to ensure their online proposition is created uniquely for each screen to support buyer behaviour across various devices. A recent survey from Google stated that consumers are more likely to make spontaneous purchases on smartphones than those on tablets, therefore a simple design, bright layouts and quick loading times are vital if retailers expect to be successful and profitable during the highly competitive festive shopping period.