Retailers urged to prepare now for online Christmas shopping – An Post

June 21, 2024

Is it too early for Irish retailers to start preparing for Christmas? Not according to An Post.

It has published its first eCommerce Index which shows that 95% of adults shopped online illustrating the potential for businesses to bolster and expand their ecommerce offering.

The period from October to December, is known as the peak sales period for online shopping, and is the most important trading time for many businesses.

“We hate to talk about Christmas in June, but what we want to do is give that information to businesses now so that they can prepare themselves,” said Garrett Bridgeman, Managing Director Mails and Parcels. “We know from our research that the ‘peak’ is when customers are shopping and spending more online. Planning now for that important sales period is crucial for every business.”

An Post handled 300,000 parcels a week in 2017 and that has grown to 1.1 million – an increase of 350%, and all the indicators point to continued growth.

Since Brexit, Irish people are buying more and more from Irish brands, but not necessarily out of loyalty to Irish businesses. When asked what drives them to shop online, 72% of customers cited convenience, followed by choice and price.

“What we’re saying to Irish retailers is be very clear with your websites, promote that you are Irish because you really have an advantage over UK brands,” Mr Bridgeman said. Businesses should promote the convenience of using their website, the choice they offer to consumers and their delivery times, demonstrating how customers can save time by shopping online with them.

“When people shop online, they want to know three things – when am I going to get it; if I don’t like it, how can I return it, and size guides. The companies that have that very clear on their website, get more business than the ones that have it hidden in their help section.”

According to the eCommerce Index, 79% of all purchases are under €100 with the sweet spot between €25 – €49.

The index also revealed what Mr Bridgeman described as “the power of social media”. “Over 40% of purchases are made by going through facebook or Instagram or Tiktok. We would say to Irish retailers, no matter how small you are, you can set up an Instagram account and sell your product. All the software is available now, including Shopify, Square, Stripe. You can very easily get into this market.”

He said the power of the social media influencers is “huge”. 73% of all 16 to 24 year olds have bought based on an influencer or celebrity. “It doesn’t have to be clothes or make-up, it can gardening, DIY, cars. If you have a budget and can get a social influencer to talk about your product, it actually works.”

He said lots of businesses have thought ecommerce wasn’t for them, but they should look into it, pointing to a statistic from the survey which found that 12% of people plan to buy their Christmas tree online this year. Pet supplies is another example of a growth area, with 52% of adults saying their bought pet supplies and 21% buying those pet products online.

“Retailers should be ready for the first of October,” Mr Bridgeman said. “If you want to make some tweaks to your website, or you want to have a social media campaign, you want to get ready now.”

An Post is the market leader in Ireland for delivering, Mr Bridgeman said.

“There are over 900 post offices nationwide. We’re in every community. We have over 5,000 delivery staff. We’re there to support Irish businesses and Irish consumers.”

Article Source – Retailers urged to prepare now for online Christmas shopping – An Post – RTE

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