E-Commerce Is Not Enough For A Christmas Cracker

New data from Verdict Research predicts businesses can expect a profitable Christmas this year, particularly if they are selling online. Figures from the research show UK consumers spending £85.2bn – £1.6bn up from 2009 – with online sales accounting for more than three quarters of this figure.

While these figures are good news, organisations with ecommerce offerings cannot afford to relax just yet. Online commerce is a rapidly evolving marketplace, with consumers that know exactly what they want and how they want to access it.

The news that Christmas spending will be up is obviously fantastic for retailers who have suffered a frugal few years. The fact that online sales are increasing in significance is providing the industry with an insight into how customer attitudes are changing regarding the way in which they want to interact with their favourite brands.

Verdict Research points out that those retailers without transactional websites are missing out at a crucial period for the sector. However, I believe that simply having an ecommerce site is not enough. The ever increasing proliferation of smartphones is opening a growing number of merchants’ eyes to the fact that multichannel commerce is the way forward.

In the UK, simply having an online offering is already old hat. It is time that all businesses were thinking seriously about their multichannel offering and how they can use the channel of their consumers’ choice to connect with them. Consumers are increasingly open to browsing, comparing prices and making purchases via alternative channels – and this does not only mean mobile.

Social commerce and in-game or in-application commerce are both emerging technologies, and companies should not dismiss their significance. Organisations that want to attract the loyalty of next generation consumers need to experiment with these channels early and perfect their multichannel strategies.

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John Strosahl is senior vice president, Europe, for Digital River, a global leader in e-commerce outsourcing that manages online business for more than 40,000 companies worldwide. Here he is responsible for the revenue and expenses of Digital River’s EMEA organisation. Prior to managing Europe, John was vice president, APAC, where he was instrumental in bringing in key local clients as well as establishing local offices, staff and infrastructure in Tokyo, Japan and Taiwan. John holds a Masters Degree from the University of Illinois, and is fluent in both German and English.