I have been watching the reports about ecommerce sales with a strange sense of foreboding and opportunistic delight.
The reports are mixed, but it seems that growth is softening – in some cases dramatically. Whilst Cyber Monday, the Monday after the US Thanksgiving holiday, recorded the second highest online sales ever at USD$846 million, growth is down by 2% for the season. In addition according to comscore the growth is being driven by heavy discounting which means narrower margins.
In the US only 7% of all retail sales are online. In Australia it is likely to be significantly less, due in no small part to dinosaurs like Gerry Harvey who think online doesn’t work.
Buyer concerns are being addressed through incentives, namely lower prices which is an understandable but knee jerk reaction.
As buyers become more cautious, sites have to address buyer concerns more carefully. Stuff like guarantees, shipping policies, payment methods, registration forms and call to actions will be even more critical to drive increased conversion.
This means etailers and B2B sites should be investing more in their online experiences and hiring analysts, architects, designers, developers and online marketers.