Retailers expect 2014 online Christmas sales to increase, ChannelAdvisor reports

ChannelAdvisor Corporation, a leading provider of cloud-based e-commerce solutions that enable retailers and manufacturers to increase global sales, has announced the Christmas results of its Multichannel E-Commerce Study.

According to the study, 86% of surveyed retailers expect to increase their year-over-year online Christmas sales in 2014. ChannelAdvisor commissioned Redshift Research to conduct the Multichannel E-Commerce Study, which surveyed more than 200 UK and US online retailers that averaged £1.8 to £3m in annual revenue in 2013. The festive portion of the study identifies retailers’ expectations for the 2014 season and the strategies they’re using to maximise their Christmas sales.

“Christmas is the time of year that retailers look forward to and plan for all year long,” said Jordan Weinstein, managing director, EMEA at ChannelAdvisor.

“As we suspected, our survey shows that retailers are planning to begin their promotions even earlier this year, with 62% having started their efforts by September. This highlights how critical it is for online retailers to prepare for Christmas early, allowing time to test and fine-tune their campaigns. At such a competitive time of year, it is those who prepare well in advance that have the advantage. Additionally, it seems that retailers are hoping to set themselves apart this year with their fulfilment strategies, with almost half of those surveyed planning to offer free delivery and returns in order to boost Christmas sales.’

Key holiday findings from the Multichannel E-Commerce Study:

  • Retailers expect a successful Christmas season: more than a quarter of surveyed retailers (27%) expect an 11 to 15% increase in Christmas sales this year compared with 2013, and nearly half (46 %) expect an increase between 1 and 10%. No retailers reported an expected decrease in festive sales this year
  • Christmas promotions are starting early: nearly half of surveyed retailers (42%) planned to begin their holiday push in September, and 20 percent planned to begin their promotions in August or sooner. Nearly a quarter (23%) of retailers planned to start their marketing push efforts earlier this year compared with previous years
  • Customer service features are important for driving sales: almost half of the retailers surveyed (41%) plan to offer free delivery and returns as a strategy to increase Christmas sales this year. One-third of the retailers surveyed plan to stock more quantity. Retailers named free delivery as the most successful service feature for generating a higher level of customer satisfaction. Most retailers (67%) said they have seen increased sales from offering these customer service features 
  • Retailers are embracing trends, including digital marketing: more than a quarter of surveyed retailers (27%) plan to increase their overall digital marketing and advertising budgets as a strategy to increase their Christmas sales this year. A quarter of surveyed retailers plan to launch new digital marketing initiatives to increase Christmas sales this year. Offering discounts for select products was a strategy that 27% of surveyed retailers said they would use to increase Christmas sales in 2014