What should online retailers be doing to prepare for Christmas?

By Anita Jaynes on 15 June, 2016

toinfinity is an award winning digital agency specialising in maximising online opportunity. They work with clients with the ambition to become multi-million-pound web businesses.

We may have only just started to see the summer sun, but toinfinity are already preparing for the Christmas sales. toinfinity have shared with us their Christmas trading review, helping you prepare for a prosperous winter of sales.

Many retailers still believe that December is the biggest month for sales, that simply is not true anymore. Some companies that are Q4 heavy have seen that they have missed target over recent years, the reason for this is they have either not planned or have underestimated the power November now holds for retailers.

Over the past three years we have had many clients coming to us asking about online retailing trends around the lead up to Christmas, this is mainly due to the affect Black Friday has had on e-commerce. This originally American concept has exploded within the UK, with the first one held in the UK by Asda in 2013 (not surprising as Asda is owned by US retailing giant Walmart). As an e-commerce agency we have had to clearly understand the impact it has on retailers and how we can unlock the secrets of how businesses in the UK can maximise this time of the year.

Black Friday is still something that some UK retailers shy away from because due to its nature, it hits margin quit heavily. However, most retailers now are focusing marketing efforts on Black Friday by discounting heavily and holding extended pre-Christmas sales aiming for sales volume rather than margin. Some companies have been going crazy with discounts and sales lasting up to 11 days, though most last four days due to the rise of ‘Cyber Mondays’.

We have seen Black Friday consumer behaviour fluctuate significantly year-on-year within the UK and feel that this is due to this sales period still being in its infancy over here. Last year shops were all set for a repeat of the manic scenes seen on shop floors around the country in 2014, however this was not the case, Cyber Monday 2015 was the biggest day for online retailing ever within the UK as consumers decided not to wrestle with each other for bargains in the shops, but instead stayed in their front room and shopped online.

So with this significant move online retailers should start planning for the pre-Christmas sales as early as possible. Ultimately if you’re looking at getting exposure organically to your site in time for the sales in November, you should be working on it now, however from a paid search and email perspective if you spend your time wisely over the summer you can get a very strong plan in place ready for November.

toinfinity is giving a talk on this subject and will be presenting their findings from the last three years of research on June 29 at Arclite House, Swindon. To book your free space email info@toinfinity.co.uk Please note: Tickets are very limited!