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Mobile leads the way in Christmas Clearance rush and will drive customer journey in 2015

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John Lewis saw the Christmas clearance rush kick off on Christmas Eve and continue Christmas Day as shoppers used their mobiles to hit the sales from the comfort of their own homes.

According to its Christmas trading figures, John Lewis saw clearance sales on these two days up 19% over last year, peaking at 9pm of Christmas day as people shopped from smartphones and tablets while ‘watching’ Downton Abbey, says the retailer.

The mobile explosion across these two days brought to a close a Christmas period that saw mobile traffic boom, says the retailer, which has seen all online sales for the five weeks up 19% on last year, with representing 36% (versus 32% last year) of total John Lewis sales during this period.

The company also saw a boom in click and collect, with 56% of online orders being collected in shops, overtaking home delivery this Christmas.

Despite this boom in online and mobile retail, John Lewis MD Andy Street is betting on a true omni-channel future, announcing off the back of the Christmas results the opening of stores in Horsham, Basingstoke and a regional flagship store in Birmingham in 2015.

“As ever, John Lewis has proven itself to be at the forefront of digital strategy, and the rest of the high street would do well to take notes,” comment Dan Wagner, CEO of Powa Technologies. “The fact that managing director Andy Street is planning new stores despite an incredible 19 per cent jump in online sales demonstrates that a strong omni-channel approach is key to success today, as does click-and-collect overtaking home deliveries.

“Shoppers still enjoy the traditional browsing experience, but they have now taken control of their journey and demand the ability to complete and receive purchases on their own terms. Those retailers who have ignored this sweeping change over the last year are in for a very gloomy start to 2015,” opines Wagner.

Nick Fletcher, Director of Service Strategy at Rakuten Marketing Europe believes that this mobile mop up of bargains heralds the beginning of of making retailers look at tying together online, mobile and in-store like never before – starting with marketing.

“It’s been a challenging period for the high street as customers have turned from the tills to the internet. The high street has struggled to compete with the convenience and speed of online shopping, and with tablets on top of the gift list this year, many people enjoyed purchasing on them. However, it’s the brands that tie their online and offline services together that are seeing the greatest sales, offering services like click and collect to drive shoppers in store,” he says.

Fletcher continues: “After a competitive Christmas, it can be a struggle for retailers to get shoppers spending again in January, so offering great customer experience and targeting customers effectively through marketing is key. For example, by implementing a retargeting campaign, brands can reach customers based on what they have already purchased. If a shopper bought flights as a Christmas present, a retailer could follow up with hotel offers for that destination. Using data, retailers can make better decisions about how to target customers in January, and in turn drive sales by rewarding returning, loyal customers. Partnerships that enable retailers to offer good value (for example, cashback or voucher deals) can also keep customers coming back. Cashback incentivises people to purchase, rather than just raising awareness, which is beneficial at this time of year when purse strings are tighter.”

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