Editor's Comment

What does Christmas 2017 have in store for retailers?

In this last InternetRetailing newsletter of 2017, we’re looking ahead to the Christmas weekend. According to the IMRG, Christmas Day trading is set to grow, but online sales will really take off on the traditional start to the sales season, Boxing Day. It predicts this will be the first £1bn Boxing Day, and that more sales will take place online this year as shoppers stay at home rather than braving the store.

After all, this was the year that mobile shopping became a staple, and figures from eMarketer out this week suggest that the smartphone will have overtaken the tablet computer by the end of this year. Retailers can be sure that in 2018 they must master the mobile shopping experience if they haven’t already.

That’s all part of the cross-channel convenience that shoppers now expect, according to a study from Criteo and the IMRG, which also finds growing demand for a personalised shopping experience.

Mobile may be growing in importance, but the store remains a key factor for most shoppers, and retailers are developing in-store experiences that reflect that. We spoke to James Backhouse of Evans Cycles about its move to launch store-based bike rides and how the events work.

We also report today on how Hughes has relaunched its website to meet the needs of cross-channel shoppers.

That focus on omnichannel is set to be reflected in IRX 2018, which returns to the NEC in March and will feature speakers from retailers including Amazon, Argos and Sainsbury’s.

Today’s guest comment comes from Ben Whitaker of B-Stock Solutions who looks at how retailers might deal with one inevitability of this festive season: the returns.

This is the last InternetRetailing newsletter of 2017. We’ll be back on January 5 with an overview of how Christmas trading went, and a look ahead at the trends that are set to affect business in 2018 and beyond. In the meantime, we wish you a very happy Christmas and a merry New Year.

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