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‘Tis the Season to Return Things

ReturnsAs ecommerce continues to grow it is also experiencing growing pains.

Increased sales are good but all the enticements of free shipping and more also lead to something that most online retailers dread: returns.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting on how this is impacting the online industry

Free shipping and lenient return policies have given online retailing a huge boost. Now, chains are mining their order data to get shoppers to keep more purchases.

Behind the uptick in e-commerce is a little known secret: As much as a third of all Internet sales gets returned, according to retail consultancy Kurt Salmon. And the tide of goods flowing back to retailers is rising. Shipper United Parcel Service Inc. expects returns to jump 15% this season from last year, making them a significant and growing cost for retailers.

It Ain’t Over Until It’s Over: Custora Tracks the Last Minute Rush

toyrus 24 hour“Toys R Us announced this week that its stores will remain open for 87 straight hours leading up to Christmas. Not to be outdone, the internet announced that it will be open all the time always forever.”

– Seth Meyers, SNL Weekend Update

When I heard that joke on this week’s Saturday Night Live episode, I laughed out loud. Then I realized how true it is. The internet has always been the place where you go shopping in your pajamas at 3 am. Sure, you could go to the 24 hour CVS but they don’t have the depth of selection.

Not only is the internet always open but it’s retailers are delivering goods faster than ever. From overnight deliveries to 1 hour local service, to instant downloads.

79 Percent of Consumers Will Still be Shopping on December 26

opF6XRiWe’re headed into the final weekend before Christmas which means cash registers – both virtual and physical – will be ringing and ringing like joyous holiday bells. eCommerce sellers will see the slow down first as only a small percentage of consumers will be fork over the fee for overnight delivery. Then, they’ll be forced back into the brick and mortar stores, a few of which will be open on Christmas Day.

There will be 24 hours of silence, then the shopping will begin again. RetailMeNot says that 79% of consumers plan to go shopping after the holidays. Almost half of the consumers surveyed say they’ll probably be returning gifts then using the money to buy something they actually want.

70 Percent of Shoppers Believe Holiday Discounts are Fake

100percent off40% off! 50% off! Prices so low, we’re losing money on every sale!

Discounts just aren’t as special as they used to be and this time of year they’re the norm not the exception. Retailers both online and off are slashing prices or offering large discounts in hopes of getting holiday buyers to fork over just a little bit more cash. That’s right – they’re charging less and hoping to get more.

Insane? Not really. It’s all just a mind game, after all.

According to a survey by UK marketing expert David Rawlings, 70% of US shoppers believe that holiday discounts are fake.

Older, more affluent shoppers and those who live in the Northeast are even more likely to believe that retailers are lying about discounts.

Ecommerce is Up, No Thanks to Social

Custora Mobile HolidayCyber Monday was the biggest day in e-commerce history. According to Custora, 70 million online shoppers spent over $10 billion across over 100 US-based online retailers. The end result was an 18% increase over 2012.

Mobile was a huge factor with 1 in 3 purchases coming in over a mobile device. 80% of those came in on an iPhone or iPad.

Thanksgiving was a particularly hot day for mobile shopping. Probably spurred on by all the bored people at holiday gatherings. “How long until the turkey’s ready?”

The drop-off on Cyber Monday means that most people switched out their phones for their PC’s. Probably because they did a large portion of shopping while they were at work on Monday.

Study Says Choice Overload Leads to No Sale

product groupingTake a run around the internet and you’ll spot the trend right away – images, images, images with very little text. Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, image sites are hot but that doesn’t mean it will work for your ecommerce store.

A new study from the University of Miami School of Business Administration shows that, if your goal is selling products online, image overload might actually work against you.

The researchers began by studying consumer preference while performing typical online shopping tasks. They then asked the participants whether they’d prefer to have an assortment of products shown as a group of images or as a group of descriptions. They ran the test with a variety of product types and the result was the same; from crackers to mutual funds, everyone preferred the visual presentation.

2013 Cyber Monday Sales Soar Beating 2012 By How Much. . . ?

Walmart-Cyber-Monday1This year’s holiday shopping season is extremely short, so maybe that’s why shoppers didn’t hesitate to pull out their credit cards on Cyber Monday. The final tally is in and it was a record year beating last year by. . .

For the conservative: 16% according to Adobe Systems

For those who prefer to go all in: 20.6% according to IBM.

Either way, it’s a win!

The numbers were consistent with the predictions – more shoppers spending less money. IBM says the average order value was $128.77, down 1% year-over-year.

Mobile was a significant factor. 31.7% of all online traffic came from smartphones and tablets, that 45% growth over last year.

Mobile also accounted for 17% of total online sales and that’s a 55.4% increase over last year.