By Rieva Lesonsky
Good news for ecommerce retailers: This holiday season, more Americans plan to shop online than will shop at brick-and-mortar stores. While 92 percent of Americans will do holiday shopping, according to SOASTA’s 2012 Holiday Readiness survey, 75 percent of those say they will shop online and 69 percent will shop in physical stores (of course, there’s some overlap here).
Of the 75 percent who say they plan to shop online, here’s how they’ll do it:
- through their home computer (69 percent)
- through their work computer (17 percent)
- through an app or website through their tablet (44 percent)
- through their smartphone (34 percent)
Shoppers have high expectations of ecommerce sites. Three-fourths of adults in the survey think stores should have specific “Cyber Monday” websites, able to handle tons of holiday shopping traffic, and 73 percent say that stores should have a dependable smartphone or tablet shopping app that makes mobile shopping reliable and easy.
The weak economy is one key reason Americans will be shopping more online this year, according to another recent survey from SOASTA. Some 51 percent of respondents in that poll said the economy is motivating them to shop online more often than in physical stores. Respondents aged 18 to 44 and women were most likely to say this.
Why are shoppers heading online? More than two-thirds (71 percent) of respondents believe they can find better and/or more deals online than they can in physical stores. With rising gas prices, 53 percent say they don’t want to spend money on gas to drive from store to store. Thirty-two percent of holiday shoppers say shopping online makes it easier for them to track spending and stay within their holiday budget; 20 percent want to use cash-back websites like Ebates to save even more money. One in five say they’re working such long hours, they have no time to visit physical stores. Finally, nearly one-third (31 percent) are worried that the bad economy will “bring out the crazy” in shoppers at physical stores, and want to avoid dealing with this.
Clearly, shoppers have plenty of reasons for heading online—good news for ecommerce merchants this holiday season. To prepare:
- Make sure your site is ready to handle heavy traffic. Test now to avoid problems later.
- Offer deals and discounts, since even online, shoppers are still cost-conscious.
- Use marketing emails to highlight key reasons shoppers indicate they’re heading online, such as convenient 24/7 shopping.
- If you haven’t already done so, consider developing a mobile app to drive even more traffic to your site.
Image by Flickr user Anastassia (Creative Commons)Google+