Are Your Websites And Apps Ready For A Truly Digital Christmas?

By Conor Whelan on November 23, 2020

Ecommerce is king for Christmas 2020 

We’ve been told to expect a digital Christmas this year and while this piece of government advice was referring to seeing friends and family online only, it’s equally true of gift-giving. According to research by home delivery specialist ParcelHero, this Christmas, online spending is due to overtake in-store sales in the UK for the first time ever: a record-breaking £39.17 billion out of a predicted £78 billion spend.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) confirms the trend: September’s retail sales figures showed the much-heralded resurgence in retail sales continued as overall spending rose 3.4% YOY, with online sales having the biggest growth again YOY, up 53%.

With consumers either unwilling or unable to get to the shops, visit their local post office or criss-cross the country to deliver their gifts in person, they are looking to online retailers to do the heavy-lifting for them.

For many shoppers it will be the only way they can share the love this Christmas, meaning that even those previously reluctant to purchase gifts online will be giving it a go, in the same way that they got to grips with online grocery shopping in the first lockdown.

Make online shopping a breeze for ALL customers

Your website and apps must be up to the challenge of being used on a wider array of devices, browsers and operating systems than ever before. Users will expect to enjoy a streamlined experience whatever their level of technical competence and confidence.

Not only do you risk a serious loss of potential revenue if there are conversion blockers on the devices your customers use, you drive them into the arms of any competitor who will make their lives easier. Customer loyalty, especially today when many are under stress, is illusory.

Tesco has apologised to online customers unable to get on its website as the supermarket seeks to cope with high demand for Christmas bookings.

One Tesco customer said on Twitter: ”I’m currently stuck in your queue while trying to get the children ready for school before I have to work full time. I’ve been staring at that screen for an hour!”
www.bbc.co.uk, 14th November 2020

Make m-commerce a priority

Don’t forget either the subtext to the rise in online shopping: the ways consumers are buying online are changing. The 2019 cyber-weekend saw 71% of UK shoppers making their purchases via their smartphone, according to industry news site Internet Retailing. A year on, this trend shows no sign of abating.

This makes a ‘mobile first’ approach more important than ever. It’s imperative that e-tailers ensure their sites and apps work effectively on a wide range of mobile devices, bringing extra pressure to bear on the development lifecycle.

It’s worth noting that 75% of the issues Digivante detects through our exploratory testing service would have gone on to have a negative impact on the overall customer experience, while 20% would have blocked conversion, if they had been released into the wild.

Our new, downloadable guide, preparing for peak periods in the ecommerce calendar, offers practical steps to ensure your websites and apps can handle high points in the festive period.