Your clients are still probably assessing the successes and failures they experienced during the 2016 holiday shopping season. While they’re reviewing their past strategies, they should also be focusing on the upcoming holiday season. As the latest eMarketer findings show, it’s never too early to set a holiday marketing plan in motion.
Most retailers know e-commerce sales rose dramatically last year – 17.8% to be exact. That growth rate contributed to the overall retail sales increase of 4.8%. Keep in mind that these figures are based on November and December sales activity and exclude travel and event tickets.
While last year could be characterized as strong, analysts are worried about several factors in 2017. For example, if the current administration succeeds in levying a ‘border tax’, the cost of goods could rise significantly and put a damper on spending. On the other hand, if job growth continues, consumers will feel comfortable spending a little more.
To stay competitive and grow sales, retailers must prime their e-commerce engines. This year, analysts predict that online sales will grow 16% over last year. By the end of the 2017 holiday season, e-commerce sales will amount to 9.2% of total retail sales. That’s a solid 1% increase over 2016. Meanwhile, the bricks and mortar channel will likely see a sales increase of about 2.4%. That level is better than the 1.9% growth in 2016.
Your clients know they’re up against some big competition in the e-commerce arena, but there are ways to score a big win. They need to source and promote unique inventory. Larger retailers are already taking this approach. For example, both Bon-Ton and West Elm are touting their inventory of goods made by local artists and craftspeople. Your clients should also be building up their mailing lists. Whether their customers live nearby or far away, they need to stay in touch and start holiday email campaigns in the fall. Ad campaigns, whether digital or traditional, should highlight the local products that can be purchased online. Make sure your clients advertise everything consumers expect in an e-commerce exchange – great service, free shipping, and a flexible return policy. Laying this groundwork now will help your clients boost sales during the all-important holiday season.