Like Me? Follow Me.
"Oh crap," you think on the 23rd November. "I haven't yet paid a single thought to what I'm going to get anyone for Christmas."
I imagine this kind of thought isn't unique to me and that a lot of you out there will have similar moments of panic at this time of the year, perhaps sound-tracked by a more sinister, Jaws-esque version of Coca-Cola's advert jingle. The holidays are coming... the holidays are coming?! THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING!!! EVERYBODY PANIC!!
These days, though, we don't have to worry too much about our lack of foresight and preparation for Christmas - we just quickly log on to the nearest computer and spend a bit of time searching through thousands of potential gifts at the click of a mouse. None of this venturing-out-in-the-cold-and-trudging-around-packed-high-streets-in-search-of-inspiration nonsense.
And at no time of the year is online shopping more popular than at Christmas. Take a look at some of the figures from IMRG:
• 240 million Europeans will shop online in the run-up to Christmas this year
• They will spend €52 BILLION in the process
• £15 billion of that which is spent in the UK will be spent in the first two weeks of December
These somewhat startling statistics might be reason enough for some e-retailers to improve their websites this winter. But others need a bit more motivation, so let's give it them. Here's three more BIG reasons why you need to get your e-commerce website up to scratch ahead of Christmas:
1) Consumers are honest - and connected
Customers are happy to tell anyone and everyone exactly what they think of a new purchase or a company they have had dealings with - whether those opinions are negative or positive.
According to research carried out recently by Fasthosts, 33% of UK consumers have published a review of something online, either through dedicated review websites or social networks.
Social media obviously makes this easier for people to air their grievances or praises and because of the sheer number of users signed up for services like Facebook and Twitter, companies should make sure they don't give consumers any reason to complain about them.
After all, Facebook has 800 million active users around the world, with each having an average of 130 friends. Over on Twitter, meanwhile, there are around a billion tweets sent a week, with the average user being followed by 126 people.
That's a lot of people that could potentially see a complaint attached to your brand name.
2) A bad experience will put consumers off
It should go without saying that you should expect customers to be a bit miffed if they try and order something on your site and something goes wrong. It will obviously have an effect on their perception of your company, and in extreme cases may lead them to refusing to ever deal with you again.
Recent statistics from Intersperience show just how true this is. The study shows that 20% of respondents said they would have spent more money online last year had it not been for problems with ordering and delivery, while 10% of online shoppers last year received the wrong order.
Make sure you provide a good user experience and don't give visitors reason for not returning to you in the future.
3) Conversion rates are dropping
According to IMRG, conversion rates - i.e. the proportion of visitors to a website then going on to contact the company or buy a product - have dropped by 55% over the past 5 years, with more people using the internet to browse, rather than purchase.
This means that your website needs to work harder than usual to convert visitors into purchasers. If a customer doesn't like the design of your site, or finds it more difficult than expected to order an item they want, they will leave your site and give their money to a competitor that can get the job done better.
Contact I-COM and Bring your E-Commerce Site Up to Speed
We provide a wide range of e-commerce solutions to companies of all sizes, from taking care of the essential but tiresome back end tasks to sprucing up the site's front end. We have a team of dedicated web developers and designers delivering services that both you and your customers will find engaging, practical and easy-to-use.
For more information, call 0844 704 6830 or complete our online enquiry form.