🔊 “Huge sales going on now! Don’t miss out!”
Does that headline sound familiar? It’s a catch phrase we often see at certain times of the year. It coincides with seasonal shopping peaks and these marketing strategies can be seen on brick-and-mortar stores as well as online.
Now, the online scenery is also marked by seasonal shopping peaks. According to a study, the global online shopping market size is expected to reach $4 trillion in 2020. Yes, you read it right. 4 trillion!
In Canada, e-commerce sales amounted to 1.85 billion Canadian dollars, with around 28 million Canadians shopping online. In Australia, the e-commerce market reached $20 million in 2019, and it’s expected to grow to 22 million this year. In this article, we’ll shed some light on how you can keep up with your consumers during shopping peaks.
It’s an ever-changing landscape, with trends continuously evolving. That means that merchants must be on top of changes in shopping behavior to avoid getting left behind. Truth be told, we know that competition in the online landscape is tough. Small to medium businesses have a tough time standing out, particularly when there’s an intense marketing war.
So, let’s have a look at the major shopping peaks and how you can leverage them for increased profits.
The Most Popular Online Shopping Peaks
June 30 – 🏷️ End of the Fiscal Year (EOFY) Sales in Australia
The financial year ends on June 30 for Australians. It’s often a time when Australian consumers can get some great deals as companies try to clear out old inventory to make room for new stock.
This means that as retailers, you can start offering discounts to get rid of stocks as early as April. Across major platforms, sales end expire 11:59PM (AEST) 30 June, unless extended.
📌 This is the time to go through your inventory and strategically plan your discounts. By doing this, you can avoid the rushing through the month of June. And definitely avoid having to lower your prices too much!
July/August – 📚 Back to School
E-commerce has made it possible for users to secure deals for the next year’s school supplies as soon as school ends in May.
Throughout the summer in the Northern hemisphere, families and students are bombarded with sales offer for clothing, school supplies, tech and even beddings (for students in dorms). According to Deloitte, more than half of annual school-related spending happens during the back-to-school shopping season.
Shoppers are ready, there are all sorts of guides for how to shop during this period. As a merchant, you also need to be ready. Why? Because consumers are making more online back-to-school purchases than ever. Last year, 22% of the purchases were online, and this number is expected to increase this year. Even if you have a late start, there are a number of procrastinators out there!
🖋️ Focus on your marketing plan. This means email and social media. Include parents and students in your audience. Dedicate a section to these sales on your website and be mobile friendly!
October – 🛒 Amazon Prime Day
This year, Amazon Prime Day 2020 will take place on October 13 and 14. It was initially predicted to take place on July 6, following the trend of the last few years. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was postponed to October. Even though it’s called Prime Day, it lasted for 48 hours in 2019, and for one day and a half in 2018. 2020 will not be very different.
Available only for Prime members, Prime Day continues to be one of the most popular days for Amazon sellers. Some have dubbed it Black Friday’s summer counterpart especially since it generated $7.16 billion in sales in 2019.
🏷️ If you’re listing on Amazon, start thinking about doing early deals by the end of June.
🏷️ If you’re listing on other PCEs, make sure you scout your competition on other platforms before making the decision of releasing discounts across the web!
💡 Note to merchants: Be aware of early discounts ahead of the actual Prime Day sales. That’s because last year competitors kicked-off sales early.
November 11 – 🤸 Singles’ Day
Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce giant, created a mega shopping event called Singles Day. It takes place in November 11 (11/11) and originated as an unofficial holiday for bachelors. The date itself can be traced back to 1993 in China, and even though it’s not an officially recognized holiday in the country, it has become a massive offline and online shopping day.
Just to give you an idea, sales in Alibaba’s sites (Tmall and Taobao) reached US$5.8 billion in 2013. Last year, it generated a record US$38.4 billion in gross merchandise volume for Alibaba. The southeast Asian branch, Lazada, has also drummed up billions in revenue.
Undeniably, this day has become known for its success. For some, it even indicates the future of consumption trends for brands and consumers. In revenues, it’s bigger than Black Friday, and it’s growing beyond the Asian borders, encompassing American brands and stars such as Taylor Swift and the Kardashians.
Competitos such as JD.Com and Pinduoduo have also joined the game. Reports indicate that Amazon and Walmart -owned Flipkart in India are replicating the sales model.
🔔 It’s important to keep an eye out for trends and new markets for your products. If this is the first time you’ve heard of 11/11, start digging to figure out if you can profit from this booming event. This means checking your shipping options or listing your products at different platforms.
November – 🗓️ Cyber Weekend
Two critical days compose the annual Cyber Weekend – Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Black Friday takes place the Friday after Thanksgiving in the USA, meanwhile Cyber Monday takes place on the following Monday. The latter began in 2005 and it was at first dedicated to online sales – hence the ‘cyber’. It allowed online stores to compete with the brick-and-mortar success of Black Friday.
Even though the origins of Black Friday are nebulous, one thing is for sure: it’s the starting date for shoppers that want to jump-start gift buying for Christmas. Together with Cyber Monday, this period of sales have transformed into one of the most profitable shopping peaks.
Last year, Black Friday saw more online shoppers than in-store shoppers in 2019. In the U.S, the sales accounted for a massive total of $7-billion-plus. There were 93.2 million online shoppers on Friday, compared to 83.3 million online shoppers on Monday.
It’s no surprise then that retailers want to capitalize on this weekend. In the last couple of years, what was a one-day-sale, became a week, and now an entire MONTH. At Shopbot, we’ve noticed this shift behavior. Retailers are starting to promote their offers before Thanksgiving. Across different platforms, ‘Black Friday month’ has become now a thing, with offers changing every day.
This year, Cyber Monday is scheduled for November 30, 2020, while Black Friday is scheduled for November 27, 2020.
🛒 As a merchant, you shouldn’t miss out on Cyber Weekend sales. You should probably consider listing on price comparison websites where you can be side-by-side to established shops. Independently of what products or services you sell, there’s enough room for everyone. Particularly since these sales are now merging with Christmas shopping. This leads us to our last shopping peak.
December – 🥊 Boxing Day
Christmas is one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year. However, the day after all the presents have been opened also represents an opportunity for online retailers to earn a few more big bucks before the end of the year.
🎄 To make sure you attract consumers that are in “shopping mode”, you need to prepare. Set up a business and marketing strategy thinking of your audience and your industry. For example, if you’re probably looking to increase sales and visibility, make sure you set up KPIs to analyse your performance.
On our next article, we dive deeper into how online retailers can prepare for these seasonal peaks.