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The £1 Billion UK Online Shopping Opportunity: What Are The 5 Things You Can Do To Position For Success?

September 24, 2015
Jannie Cahill
Written By
Jannie Cahill

It’s predicted that almost a third of UK shoppers (30%) plan to buy online during this year’s Black Friday compared to just 8% last year. With Black Friday 2015 set to be the UK’s very first £1 billion online shopping day, we take a look at how retailers can maximise this lucrative sales opportunity through improving their eCommerce performance.

Globally, the UK continues to be the world leader when it comes to eCommerce’s share of total retail sales, accounting for 14.5% of total sales, according to eMarketer.

With UK retail eCommerce sales expected to top £60 billion in 2015, this year’s Black Friday is set to reach £1 billion in UK online sales alone.

Black Friday is still a relatively new phenomenon in the UK (historically, a US tradition where retailers cut prices on the Friday after Thanksgiving in an attempt to get customers back into shop) but that hasn’t stopped it gathering significant momentum this side of the pond.

So with shoppers ever-savvier to retailers’ promotions – and this year more attuned to the hype surrounding Black Friday – what should retailers be doing to position for success?

1. Price it right

Competition is hotter than ever and keeping abreast of your competitors’ prices will be key to staying ahead this holiday season.

Deloitte research shows that 64 percent of every pound spent in-store is now digitally influenced, so don’t count on shoppers being uninformed.

By the same token, your competitors can see everything shoppers do, so you need to be strategically monitoring their prices on a regular basis (and in some price-sensitive categories, such as electronics, on a daily basis).

But it shouldn’t just be a race to the bottom on price. Monitoring your competitors’ prices and product stock availability will help you display the right price to your customer at the right time – enabling you to find opportunities to increase margin by raising prices, or increase competitiveness by lowering them.

2. Remember that shoppers are channel agnostic

Today’s shoppers are increasingly either doing research online before buying in-store or vice versa: checking out a product in-store before finding the best price online and ordering it via click-and-collect.

The importance of click-and-collect in bringing digital and brick-and-mortar together is highlighted in new research released this week which shows that fifty three per cent of £20-plus products bought in the UK are done so online for home delivery.

In addition, 51 percent of shoppers surveyed had carried out research for a future purchase at a retailer’s website, with 49 per cent visiting an actual store.

We already know that shoppers in the UK have long been eCommerce trailblazers, but this shift in buying behaviour is switching rapidly to mobile.

Retail mCommerce is expected to grow by 37.5% in 2015 – a rate more than double that for retail eCommerce sales as a whole – illustrating the importance of displaying the same price across all channels, regardless of how or where a shopper makes that purchase.

3. Promotions are starting ever earlier – be prepared!

As discussed in our recent Back-to-School whitepaper, retailer promotions are starting earlier than ever before. Shopping seasons are on an upward sales trajectory, featuring increasingly aggressive retailer promotions that are generating earlier and earlier starts to the seasonal shopping period.

And retailers depend heavily on a strong holiday performance.

ChannelAdvisor’s 2015 Online Retail Survey reveals that nearly 60 percent of retailers plan to start their holiday promotions in September or sooner, and almost a quarter (24 percent) are planning to offer more holiday promotions than last year as a strategy to increase their 2015 holiday sales.

The survey also reveals that for nearly three-quarters (74%) of retailers, 20% of annual sales are generated during the holiday season. And when asked which day was the most profitable, 47% of UK retailers (and 41% of US retailers) said Black Friday.

So remember that your competitors’ promotions will have an immediate impact on your sales and profitability this year. Tracking and staying abreast of competitor promotions, and ensuring you stay competitively priced on key items during the vital holiday season, is critical.

4. Don’t fly blind: have the right products in stock

Stocking the right goods, at the right time, at the right place, in the right quantities is certainly a challenge – but that is what today’s shopper has come to expect.

Customers who cannot find what they want turn to competitors. And online shoppers are even more likely to be impatient, as 64% of disappointed customers are shown to have bought their product from another retailer’s website or abandoned the idea completely if a product is out-of-stock.

Are you aware of this missed sales opportunity? Do you know which of this year’s must-have gadgets are out-of-stock at competitors’ stores today?

This real-time intelligence is crucial to fine-tuning your product assortment and giving you a competitive edge this holiday season.

5. Continuously monitor and optimise

It’s not just about making changes at any one point in time. To be successful, you need to be constantly monitoring and optimising your eCommerce performance in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and beyond.

Profitero collects pricing, promotion, and assortment intelligence directly from the “digital shelf,” monitoring more than 275 million products at more than 1,000 retail sites globally.

We see firsthand that the way shoppers are buying is constantly evolving. Ensure you have the right insights to act on these changes and take your share of the £1 billion online shopping opportunity this Black Friday.

Request a demo to find out how Profitero can help you optimise your eCommerce performance this holiday season.


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