Finance, Legal, Local, Sales and marketing, Website Strategy

Christmas spending set to dip

Michelle Hammond /

A digital marketing agency has shared its tips for driving online sales, after an IBISWorld report revealed a third of Australians expect to spend less this year than last Christmas.

 

According to the report, around 34% of Australian consumers intend to spend less than last year, with the average shopper expected to fork out a modest $1,213.22.

 

“In 2011, Australian shoppers have been savvy, seeking out the best value for money, the best range and the best service,” IBISWorld general manager Karen Dobie says.

 

“This trend is anticipated to continue through Christmas.”

 

A total of $27.4 billion is expected to be spent this Christmas, the report claims, with only 20% of consumers planning to spend more than they did last year.

 

The most growth will be online spending in the categories of clothing and footwear, electronics and books. Toys, games and video games will also remain popular purchases.

 

Food retailers will see a slight increase this year, IBISWorld reports, while venue hire operators and restaurants will receive a boost due to corporate Christmas spending.

 

The report comes on the back of the latest retail trade figures, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which shows retail spending rose 0.2% in October, despite forecasts of a 0.4% rise.

 

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, says this result will give retailers a “glimmer of hope” but key industry categories are still in decline.

 

“It was great to see a monthly boost for fashion retailers (1.2%) due to people spending for the spring racing carnival and other spring events,” Zimmerman said in a statement.

 

“However, the monthly boost doesn’t put clothing retailers in the clear as they struggle with sales still 2.2% below last year.”

 

“We know that 54% of retailers are already… putting goods on sale before Christmas in order to entice customers into the store, and 65% of retailers expect sales to be ‘not as high as last year’.”

 

Despite the gloomy forecast, digital marketing agency Piper Digital Marketing insists you don’t need to discount in order to spark sales, providing your eCommerce strategy is up to scratch.

 

PiperDM has worked with Melbourne-based designer shoe retailer Habbot Studios, along with knitwear label Cable Melbourne, to boost their online sales.

 

The agency claims to have helped Habbot Studios achieve a 642% increase in traffic to its website, and a 385% increase in sales.

 

It did this by targeting influential fashion bloggers, running Facebook competitions, and offering incentives like free shipping.

 

“It’s not as simple as if you build it, they will come, but if you know a few tricks you can still achieve the dream,” PiperDM managing director Dena Dillon says.

 

Dillon’s top tips for online retailers:

  • Make sure you eliminate the FUDDs – the fears, uncertainties, doubts and deal-breakers.

    You have to find ways to reassure the customer the item will fit, that it will be comfortable and that they can return it if it’s not right.

  • Piggyback on bigger brands. You might want to sell your own designs but online shoppers will be searching for brands they know.

    By cross-selling and on-selling, more traffic will be drawn to your website where you can sell big brands and promote your own products.

  • Remember you’re a merchandiser. This is still a shop window so fit it out accordingly. Promote sale items and special offers.
  • Don’t lose them at the last minute. A large percentage of browsers abandon items in the shopping cart. Offer incentives to follow through, such as free shipping or a small gift.
  • Leverage your community. You’re online and so are your customers. You should embrace new media through Facebook and the blogging community. 
  • Reach out. 90% of browsers are window shoppers so build a relationship with them using an enticing message and convert them into customers.

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