In the first part of our ‘12 trends of Christmas’ series, we discussed the increasing digitisation of the traditional offline store to cope with the holiday traffic, the trend of ‘pop up’ shops and how retailers are making the most of popular multimedia such as videos and music.

Continuing on to reach the ‘magical’ twelve, we examine the remaining technology and trends and that are changing the way online retailers should think about Christmas – and how they operate.

7. The peak happens earlier

While in bricks and mortar most of the year’s Christmas sales happen in the few weeks before the 25th, in digital the holiday rush tends to happen quite a bit earlier, due to shipping limitations. As a result, sales of AdWords, email marketing campaigns and discounts need to happen earlier too.

There is a whole rush of digital activity not in December, but in November. As the most recent NAB Online Sales index shows for Christmas 2012, when it comes to digital and Christmas, the earlier, the better.

8. Responsive design

If you haven’t jumped on the interactive design wagon, now’s the time. Not only does the design process make everything easier aesthetically, but Google increasingly wants to see responsive design used as well. While Google has already said responsive design doesn’t provide you with a direct boost in traffic, the fact is a responsive design will make your mobile and tablet sites easier to browse. This will lead to an increase in traffic, which will naturally boost your Google rankings. It’s all tied together.

9. Content, glorious content

The popularisation of content creation among retailers is as much a necessity as it is a power play. Without a blog or at least some stream of useful information, retailers aren’t providing any differentiation among their competitors.  For a fashion business, information on different trends and styles goes a long way to making the company appear savvy. Businesses such as Kathmandu, David Jones and Shoes of Prey use their blogs not only as ways to show off content, but to showcase their expertise and knowledge on their industry. When customers are searching for sites to shop, a huge archive of useful content goes a long way in making a site appear active and knowledgeable of current trends.

10. Catalogue marketing

Paper catalogues still represent a huge amount of the marketing budget for retailers, especially around holidays such as Christmas. More businesses are beginning to use these types of catalogues online. But there’s a gap between putting the material in peoples’ hands and getting them online. There has already been plenty of experimentation with translating real-world graphics and ads into digital tools, such as QR codes printed on advertisements. More tie-ins between print and digital counterparts can be expected – whether it be simple directions to a website, or something more complex.

11. Cyber Monday

Typically the first Monday in December after the American Thanksgiving holiday, Cyber Monday was originally designed as a tie-in to the holiday. But more international retailers are getting in on the action. It’s one thing to sell a few products cheap in bricks-and-mortar, but it’s another to sell all over the world. Global shipping means everyone is getting in on the action. More Australian businesses are using Cyber Monday as a lead into extra Christmas sales, not only by targeting local audiences but those overseas as well.

12. Catch the last minute Christmas Day panic

The last-minute gift certificate is a favourite last minute item, but in recent years the trend has been given a digital spin. Statistics from the last few years show downloads on Christmas Eve are beginning to rise – and site traffic is actually increasing on Christmas Day as people who receive gifts of tablets and smartphones download ebooks or music through gift certificate cash. More businesses are offering digital services. Even if this is as much as a gift certificate or some sort of ‘currency’ for the store, retailers cannot ignore this opportunity to pick up last-minute sales.

 

Contributor

John Riccio

John is PwC Australia’s Design & Deploy, Experience Consulting partner.

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