Are online retailers delivering on the online Christmas shopping surge?

It’s no secret that the festive period is the busiest time of the year for retailers thanks to Christmas shopping. But our new research highlights the reason why traditional high-street outlets are likely to continue to struggle – with or without Christmas. That’s because 49% of UK shoppers now do a least half their festive purchasing online.

The study also reveals that 27% do at least three-quarters of their Christmas shopping online. Meanwhile, only 11% stay away from the internet.

At least 49% of UK shoppers buy at least half of their Christmas shopping online.

Oldschool to newschool

Of course, all is not lost for traditional bricks and mortar retailers in terms of Christmas shopping. They simply need to make sure that their online presence is up with the best online retailers. This way they can grab a slice of the online pie as well as benefit from high-streets sales.

In fact, the smart ones are creating a seamless online and offline experience with initiatives like click and collect. Some are also introducing more technology in-store to deliver a deeper customer experience. This helps create a key point of differentiation from their online counterparts.

The pop up pick-me-up

However, high-street Christmas shopping is far from dead, with many online retailers opening pop-up and permanent stores. This is particularly the case at Christmas, and Amazon has again popped up in London. That said, online Christmas shopping is very much here to stay, with younger generations preferring to buy over the internet. The survey reveals that over 60% of the power spending 25 to 44-year-olds do at least half their buying online.

Millennials are the biggest online shoppers at Christmas.

But whether you’re an online or traditional retailer, the research carries an important message: Prepare properly for the Christmas rush, so it doesn’t damage your service levels. Fall down on service at Christmas, and it could deter those affected from buying from you in the future.

Addressing delivery

So which areas do retailers need to focus on?

Well, top of the online purchase problems list was delivery time. Around 34% of shoppers surveyed cited it as their most common issue. Next up were out-of-stock items complained about by 31% of customers, then late deliveries by 28%.

The “delivery time” is the most common online purchase problem at Christmas.

’Tis the season to be jolly, apparently. So online retailers need to keep their customers jolly by stocking up properly. Plus there’s clearly an issue getting purchases to shoppers once they’ve parted with their hard-earned cash. And delivery costs also feature on the problem list.

Post-purchase neglect

In fact, the post-purchase experience overall needs attention. Around 26% of shoppers named communication from purchase to delivery as another issue. Perhaps this is because so many online retailers outsource this important part of the customer journey to their logistics partners. Yes, these people are skilled in delivery, but clearly there is a disconnect when it comes to communicating with customers.

So maybe it’s time for retailers to take control to prevent the post-purchase process derailing their entire online shopping experience – particularly at Christmas when time really is of the essence.

After all, the last thing online retailers want to do is give Santa a bad name! And don’t forget, he can serve the entire planet in one night with a sleigh drawn by reindeer.

Now that’s what you call post-purchase excellence! 

About the Author: Katharine
Katharine is Head of Marketing Communications - EMEA. An avid shopper, Katharine is passionate about helping retailers understand the importance of efficient post-purchase communications. When she isn’t looking for the latest trends for our blog, Katharine loves discovering new restaurants in London.