Preparing for Christmas this summer

Are you prepared for the seasonal shopping surge?

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Christmas eCommerce Strategy for SMBs

The growth in sales events over the Christmas period presents opportunity for merchants of all sizes to boost their revenues before the end of the year. But with retailers all over the world going into battle during these peak periods, merchants need to stand out with more than just price cuts. Extensive research across Europe shows that some of the busiest shopping weeks of the year were week 50 (commencing 10th December 2018) and week 51 (commencing 17th December 2018). Shoppers are more active here than any other time of the year in the run up to Christmas. Our latest eBook is filled with advice for smaller merchants to help them compete and succeed during the festive season.

Growth opportunities for SMBs and niche retailers

During the run up to Black Friday, a quarter of online shoppers in major European markets chose to shop with SMBs or niche retailers, rather than traditional eCommerce giants. Our analysts have identified the rising appeal of targeted and niche products and services as the key reason behind this surge in SMB popularity.

This of course fluctuated per region, but the consumers who would shop solely with SMBs remained high for all six key markets we assessed:

  • Netherlands: 26%
  • Belgium: 23%
  • Spain: 23%
  • France: 21%
  • Germany: 19%
  • UK: 12%
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Go global as part of your festive strategy

Percentage of consumers who would opt to shop solely with small and medium-sized business during Black Friday 2018:

  • Netherlands: 26%
  • Belgium: 23%
  • Spain: 23%
  • France: 21%
  • Germany: 19%
  • UK: 12%

Our consumer survey revealed that shoppers want to visit smaller, niche merchants during peak sales days - meaning these days are rife with opportunity.

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A change of heart

Post-purchase regret is a major issue for all merchants, particularly around high traffic periods. Last Black Friday, some 31% of shoppers across the six key European markets admitted to returning a purchase they decided they no longer wanted or needed. Germany and Netherlands saw above average returns, with two fifths of online shoppers opting to return items bought during the sales.

However, returns dropped in 2018 compared with the previous year, resulting in the lowest returns rate for three years (1.9%, versus 4.3% in 2017 and 3% in 2016). This suggests that shoppers may well be growing increasingly vigilant when shopping on busy sales days, strategically thinking about what they want rather being caught up in a fear of missing out. It is also likely that merchant offers are becoming more genuine and valuable. This has resulted in consumers spending more on Black Friday, but returning less than ever before.

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Peak sales shopping methods

With consumers beginning to shop strategically, the retail industry has in turn become more diverse than ever before. We’re seeing consumers embracing different channels for different products, selecting the one that offers the right experience for that particular product.

Based on our analysis of peak sales days last year, we can expect more consumers to head not just online, but onto their mobiles for peak sales days in the future. SMBs should ensure they’re offering a functional, user-friendly mobile site, with a checkout that actually converts the browser efficiently. Mobile innovation impacts customer satisfaction for the better, but only if the store meets consumer demand and expectation.

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Get prepared for peak sales with Ingenico

Want to make sure you stand out from the crowds over the festive period and other peak sales days? Download our eBook and find out all you need to know, from preparing your website for increased traffic, to ensuring that traffic turns into conversions.

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