In a novel twist on ‘smartphone’ retailing, the UK’s smaller and independent online retailers are set to see a 40% boom in sales over the phone in the run up to Christmas – with people actually calling them to buy things.
In a recent survey by call tracking software provider, Mediahawk, more than one third of smaller retailers said that sales made over the telephone are expected to increase by up to 40% over the festive period. Furthermore, a fifth of respondents said that telesales were expected to ramp up by more than 50% during this time frame.
This suggests that regardless of the online explosion, many still prefer to make their transactions over the phone.
70% of SMEs are set to focus their marketing spend on social media channels in order to drive telesales. This year, social media was prioritised over other marketing channels including TV, radio, direct mail, print advertising, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and email marketing. It was retailers and eCommerce businesses (32%) that will be using social media the most.
Although social media was chosen as the primary method, 30% of SMEs said they use at least four channels to market their business over the festive season, with 34% of respondents saying they use traditional media like print, radio, TV and direct mail at this time of year.
Size of SME did not affect prioritisation of marketing spend with both large and small businesses evenly split. This may be because driving telesales via social media allows for a much more immediate and measurable return on investment (ROI) and a more level playing field than traditional marketing methods like print and TV advertising.
However, we still found that most businesses were not properly attributing the calls back to the channels that generated them.
One third of businesses do no attribution tracking on sales made over the phone, despite pumping money into social media marketing. 50% of businesses said they manually attribute their calls, and just 16% use some form of tracking software.
Mediahawk CEO, Michael Morrell says: “The survey results go to show that not all Christmas shopping is carried out online. The telephone is equally, if not more, important a sales channel as any other medium. With marketing budget being pumped into getting Christmas sales, it’s imperative for SMEs, especially with tight margins, to know which marketing has driven sales.
“Throughout the year, businesses use a multitude of channels to build exposure and drive sales. Attributing their sales calls to marketing activities enables businesses to manage their budgets better all year round – not just at Christmas time”.