The Amazon factor
Amazon is dominating online Christmas shopping, according to new figures from Hitwise.
Overall UK web visits were 3% down on Black Friday compared to the same time last year, according to the consumer insight provider’s data, . But visits to Amazon were 3% ahead, at 49.98 million. That represents, says Hitwise, more than quarter of the entire industry. Hitwise data suggests that Amazon processed 4.22m transactions on Black Friday – up by 9% on last year.
The online retailer’s domination was helped by shoppers who started their search for an item on the Amazon site, rather than on a search engine. Search sessions on Amazon, says Hitwise, were 24% up on Black Friday compared to the same time last year. Once they’d searched they were also more likely to buy, with the Amazon conversion rate running at 8.44% on Black Friday – double the average of the next 20 top retailers. Some 19% of all visitors to the site bought from it. This, says Hitwise, illustrates the importance of Amazon’s vast range – selling items both directly and from its sellers – and the wide number of offers available.
“Online retail has slowed down, but Amazon is still finding ways to grow,” said Lisa Luu, global head of insights at Hitwise. “Hitwise data shows that the ecommerce giant has now become its own search engine. It is getting more effective at keeping people on the site and converting them at double the industry average. Amazon is taking more share of the consumer’s online journey and we are seeing brands react to this. More spend and efforts are now being dedicated to Amazon, optimising how a brand’s products are getting featured by the ecommerce giant.”
Amazon saw 3.48m exclusive buyers on its site in the two weeks running up to Black Friday, while there were 1.26m individual buyers on Black Friday alone. That’s to say, shoppers who bought from Amazon but not from the other top seven retailers, who include eBay and John Lewis. The figure, says Hitwise, is up by 4% on last year.
The importance of customer service
Last year, Christmas shoppers spent £1.2 billion with retailers who failed to deliver on Tim, says the Institute of Customer Service, while one in 10 customer received their Christmas deliveries at least two weeks too late and 28% of UK customers had to take an hour out of their working day in order to deal with delivery issues.
Such factors, it says, all influence whether customers will return to buy again from a retailer. The Institute found, in its research, that 60% of shoppers had been put off shopping with retailers who failed to deliver on time.
Jo Causon, chief executive of The Institute of Customer Service, said: “As businesses approach Christmas, it’s important they learn lessons from last year. Within the current retail context, brands cannot afford to be let down by their suppliers and businesses need to make wise procurement decisions, which shouldn’t be overly influenced by price.
“In a competitive environment, retailers need to ensure an excellent end-to-end customer service experience. Customers will blame the brand as much as the delivery company if they experience problems, and this could negatively impact their reputation and sales the following year, with wider Institute research revealing that improvements in customer service could add £81.5 billion to the UK GDP in just 12 months.’