By Steven Hickey, Head of Business Development at ekmPowershop.com
Internet spending in silly season has exploded – again! Despite a gloomy outlook on the high street this Christmas, the internet’s positively booming.
Every first Monday in December sees an explosion in online spending. It’s the biggest shopping day of the year, a festive frenzy known as ‘Mega Monday’.
In the aftermath of this year’s Mega Monday, our ecommerce boffins set about number crunching the ekmPowershop.com network, where we host 1 in every 5 online shops in the UK.
Over 11,000 online shops were surveyed in the biggest study of its kind, and it revealed something a bit special this year. Sales volumes jumped by a staggering 40% across the board, smashing last year’s increase of 25%.
Average spend has jumped too, up £4.76 on every single order placed. Average checkout values in the run up to Christmas are £63.06 compared to £58.30 last year.
So it’s official – in the face of a lingering recession, there’s another boom online. More people are buying goods over the internet, spending more money than usual – and as always they’re paying less for their goods than they would on the high street.
But why the big jump this year in particular? Times are harder, most people have less cash than a year ago and the cost of living’s never been higher. If anything you’d expect spending to be down, right?
Chances are there’s a device in your pocket that holds the answer. Mobile devices link consumers to a multitude of online systems whilst on the move. Since smartphones and tablets arrived, we no longer need to Facebook or Tweet from a PC or laptop. The same applies to shopping, and this year the British public have been purchasing on their mobile devices like never before.
A shift in shopping habits
Mobile offers a new dimension within the online space that’s caused a tidal wave effect this Christmas.
With so many smartphone users out there, this year’s been a tipping point for shoppers purchasing through mobile, as businesses start to offer mobile optimised versions of their websites – for maximum usability and customer experience.
It’s safe to say mobile is one huge factor in the spike of online shopping this year. 10% of all internet purchases were made through an Apple iPad for instance – more than double the amount last year.
10 or so years ago we witnessed the high street’s demise in convenience to online shopping. This year’s seen another huge leap in the convenience stakes.
Rules of engagement – any time, any place, anyhow
Shoppers can purchase what they want, when they want, how they want… in the lounge, on the bus, in the park – absolutely anywhere. This quite simply trumps anything that’s been before.
Businesses who sell online are reaping the rewards for one simple reason – they’re putting their products in the places people are looking for them, at their convenience.
‘Multichannel’ is a real buzzword at the moment. Put simply – it means selling products in as many places as possible. When it comes to running an online shop, it means shoppers accessing your product range through multiple touch points – from devices like smart phones, tablets and PCs to marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and Play.com. Then there’s channels in social commerce, for selling products through platforms such as Facebook. The list goes on and continues to diversify, presenting more opportunities to increase a business’s reach.
Get in on the action
You’d be forgiven for thinking any of the above sounds a tad sophisticated, a bit too technical or quite simply out of reach – something for the ‘big boys’ to take advantage of with their big budgets.
Fact is it’s not difficult, and it’s certainly not expensive. You’ll need an ecommerce website which acts as your lynchpin. So long as you’re with a competitive ecommerce provider then your multichannel requirements should be taken care of at the click of a button – from listing your products on eBay to having a shop that works smoothly on multiple devices, mobile in particular.
If your business isn’t online then get yourself an ecommerce website pronto, before the competition hots up further. I’ll be biased and recommend you join 1 in every 5 online shop owners using ekmPowershop.com – where all of the above is taken care of for just £19.99 per month.
If you’re online already, make sure your website is ready for multichannel – mobile in particular.
In and around the ecommerce industry we’ve been talking about the tipping point on mobile internet traffic for the past 2 or 3 years. 2012 has seen the potential we’ve all been talking about turn into solid cash, with millions of pounds worth of orders coming from iPads, iphones and smart devices in general. The biggest online Christmas on record has shone a huge light on this fact.
People are spending more online, saving more online and we’re still seeing record breaking growth online, year on year. Businesses need to equip themselves with an effective ecommerce presence that’s scalable and future proofed in order to get a piece of the action in 2013 – the year when mobile could become the biggest channel of all.
Founded in 2002 by then 22 year old Antony Chesworth, ekmPowershop.com has grown to become the UK’s largest ecommerce provider, powering 1 in every 5 online shops.
Now available in 6 countries worldwide, ekmPowershop.com have helped over 35,000 businesses create their own easy to use online shop. Clients include O2, Michelin Tyres, The Mirror, Lotus Cars, Prudential and thousands of SMEs.