In a year that has been rocked by unprecedented circumstances and seen turbulent times rock retail, eCommerce experts have predicted that this year's Holiday Season will be like no other that has preceded it. 

Predictions and suggestions vary with some anticipating a Holiday Season that will go ‘ballistic’ and others suggesting eCommerce brands will opt out of peak season campaigns. Whilst such forecasting can often work as a useful indicator over how marketing strategies should be constructed, a deeper dive into the consumer intentions will help eCommerce businesses from different industries understand how to optimise. Cloud.IQ surveyed consumers around their shopping preferences and priorities this Holiday Season and found out about their planned approach to purchasing: 

Do people intend to purchase items online? 

Unsurprisingly, the answer to this is a resounding yes. Given the impact of COVID-19, shoppers still have a clear reliance on online shopping and home deliveries whereby convenience takes precedent and any potential health risks don’t come to the fore. 

Cloud.IQ’s data suggests that a massive 93% of consumers plan to purchase items online at some point throughout the holiday season. This should serve to make sure eCommerce businesses optimise their efforts in preparation. Although such statistics are forewarnings for supply chains who must ready themselves. Yodel Chief Executive, Mike Hancox said: 

“We’ve been operating at ‘peak’ levels since March, with volumes up 20% compared with a ‘normal’ year, and are forecasting Christmas 2020 to be another 20% on top of that.”

What products will be the most popular this Holiday Season online? 

Information about product popularity is equally important to understanding the eCommerce landscape heading into the Holiday Season, something we know all too well after watching lockdown drive increases in gardening equipment and alcohol amongst other items. 

Cloud.IQ’s data shows that clothing and electronics are anticipated to be the two highest selling items this season with 74% and 71% of respondents outlining their intentions to purchase respectively. The success of clothing stores is underlined by the likes of ASOS who have seen profits quadruple and demand for casual wear soar. 

What about Amazon?

With Amazon Prime Day 2020 having just passed as a key part of the Holiday Season, estimates suggest sales hit $10.4 billion, increasing from $7.16 billion in 2019. The popularity of this event suggests that Amazon will still retain a level of use from online shoppers. 

Yet Cloud.IQ’s data suggests that no shopper will have 100% reliance on the juggernaut with 16% suggesting they will not shop on the website at all; 22% suggesting they will do little shopping on Amazon; 12% suggesting they will do some form of shopping on Amazon; and 48% suggesting they plan to use Amazon for a significant number of purchases.

Consumer expectations this Holiday Season 

The fact that no consumer intends to use Amazon for all their holiday purchases and almost 40% suggesting they’ll do little to no shopping on Amazon this Holiday Season is perhaps indicative of a shift in consumer expectations around their purchasing journey post-COVID-19. 

Cloud.IQ’s data shows that over 64% of shoppers deem a great online shopping experience to be extremely important to them, with a further 16% considering it very important. This goes some way to showing how consumer expectations have changed following the increased reliance on eCommerce during lockdown, and is perhaps indicative of why Amazon is not totally relied upon. This makes this Holiday Season an opportune time for other eCommerce businesses to make their mark and acquire a bigger customer base. 

One of the ways to do this is by leveraging personalised content and showing a deeper understanding of who the customer is. This is often cited as Amazon’s downfall with shoppers seeing them as a faceless seller where branding and personalisation is stripped away. In fact, over 22% of respondents in Cloud.IQ’s analysis say they will definitely buy from a website that uses personalised messaging, and offers and promotions based on your interests or previous shopping history. A further 35% also say they are very likely to. 

The most important of leveraging personalised marketing according to Cloud.IQ’s data is by displaying personalised offers and incentives, an incentivising solution more respondents deemed ‘very important’ compared to loyalty points, product recommendations, viewing product popularity, and items frequently bought together. Data showed that over 80% of respondents expected eCommerce business to offer discount codes, with free delivery also equally important. 

To ensure you are readying a personalised marketing approach for your eCommerce business this Holiday Season, download Cloud.IQ’s latest eBook which will help you optimise your efforts and identify Amazon’s key weaknesses. 

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