Multi-channel retailers have been urged to ready themselves for the “Christmas effect” just over three months out from the holiday.
New research from ChannelGrabber, the leading software provider of multichannel eCommerce software, has found that the Christmas 2017 peak selling season will begin around mid-September this year, and end as soon as December 20th.
ChannelGrabber’s research draws on analysis of data from almost 1,000 retailers ranging in size from micro to large across all sectors of online retail. The research identifies patterns and trends and turns them into the basis for actionable selling tactics.
As well as well as looking at the timing of the “Christmas effect” the report also looks at the best time for marketing to maximise sales, as well as asking whether Black Friday lives up to the hype and when is the ideal point to take a well-earned vacation.
“Everyone knows Christmas is the year’s greatest retail event, but there has been little if any quantitative research carried out into its effect on online retailers’ business,” says Mike Morgan, chief executive officer of ChannelGrabber.
“We commissioned this research because we wanted to help retailers to understand the trends and patterns of the key Christmas selling period and to help them plan for 2017 to ensure they maximise sales and customer satisfaction. We were genuinely surprised by several of the findings.”
From its research, ChannelGrabber highlights the following as the ‘Top 5 facts online retailers need to know about the Christmas Effect’:
Christmas starts sooner every year
“Prepare accordingly! Planning your stock and supplies well in advance this year will allow you to fully exploit the Christmas Effect and ensure you don’t run out of those key product lines at the peak of the buying frenzy. You should start increasing the stock you hold mid-September and gradually ramp up.”
Amazon sales increased more than eBay’s
“Amazon invests heavily in seasonal marketing and demand generation, so if you’re considering selling there, make sure your products are listed in time to benefit from this increase in traffic.”
Sales boomed on Black Friday, but this was not the best week for sales
“Black Friday may be the single largest sales day on the calendar, however looking at the week overall the following weeks are higher. Instead of slashing prices to maximise Black Friday sales you should focus instead on a longer more sustained campaign over the entire Christmas period. You won’t run into as many logistical problems and your profit margins will thank you!”
Amazon really knows how to leverage seasonal sales
“Sales growth continues on Amazon right up until December 20th. We believe this is down to the ‘Amazon Prime Effect’ as Amazon guarantees delivery dates for Prime subscribers, giving them confidence items will arrive before Christmas. If you want to take advantage of sales in this period, utilising Amazon FBA and placing some stock in their warehouse is the way forward.”
Sales fell so much by December 20th businesses could have taken a holiday
“It is no understatement to say that sales fall off a cliff. What’s most interesting is that this happens on December 20th. This is a lot earlier than we expected, but after this point your sales will be worse than an average day at any other time of the year, and sales will stay this suppressed well into the new year. Take a holiday this Christmas and place your accounts into holiday mode to stop taking orders. Your business won’t suffer as a result, and your mental health and family will be grateful for it.”