For the launch of our holiday blog series, we wanted to provide a business overview of past holiday seasons and why sellers on marketplaces should expect this Q4 to be the biggest one yet! We’ll also cover helpful topics such as sales expectations, when to promote, and how to ensure your products reach your customers in time for the holidays.
Holiday Recap and Predictions for Marketplaces
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Q4 2017 e-commerce sales increased 16.6% from Q4 2016. Looking at our own exciting trends, and growing consumer enthusiasm, Newegg is taking the bold stance that sellers on marketplaces should anticipate a 20% growth during this years holiday season.
For Newegg, the typical holiday buying period sees an average of 40% traffic increase over Q1 to Q3. The above graph detailing Q4 sales and site visits illustrates that sellers have so many more opportunities than just Black Friday. At the very least, sellers should view the entire week leading up to Cyber Monday as a critical time for your business and promotional strategies.
Despite sales tapering down the last two weeks of December, it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for sellers to be taking advantage of – namely the last minute shopper! Last minute shoppers will need sellers who can fulfill their orders at lightning speed – make sure that your shipping services can get your products to these eleventh-hour buyers. We’ll cover the best shipping practices a little further down.
Know Your Products
Now let’s take a look at the world of e-commerce as a whole.
Here we see an interesting trend that demonstrates the types of gifts being purchased throughout Q4. The data shows that consumer electronics have a strong showing in November while Toys & Games have their strongest showing in early to mid-December. So what insights can this provide to marketplace sellers? The chart shows clear signs of two different consumer types:
The Black Friday “treat yourself” customer
The Christmas “gift giving” customer
If you are selling computers on marketplaces, you should leverage your promotions much heavier in November while a jewelry seller is better off promoting in the early parts of December. All this boils down to is that sellers need to know their products’ seasonality, their customers’ demands, and the best time to connect those dots with promotions.
From Points A – Z
Shipping – it is the lifeblood of e-commerce. It is essential that you have a fulfillment plan to address the demands of the holiday season. Deloitte states that more than 83% of consumers consider “fast shipping” to be two days or less. This only goes to show that the stakes are extremely high during the holidays to keep your customers happy and to meet their high expectations.
Fast ≠ Free
In the closing days of the holiday, it is important to offer your customers a wide variety of shipping options. Remember that in the later days of December, you want to offer faster shipping options for those last minute shoppers, but until this point, you may be able to avoid offering free AND fast shipping. There is no need to eat the cost of fast shipping if it is not something your customers are demanding. By providing a variety of shipping options, you empower your customers to make the best choices for them.
Don’t Let Them Down
Establishing customer expectations is key during this time. It is a well-documented phenomenon that no one holds a deeper and more spiteful grudge than a customer whose delivery was late. Make sure that you don’t wind up on anyone’s naughty list this holiday season. Keep your customers in the loop if there are any hiccups with their delivery or if you expect delays.
In the coming installments of this holiday prep series, you will see blogs highlighting Q4 best practices, holiday promotions tailored for sellers on marketplaces, and priming your products to make the biggest splash. Be on the lookout!