Boxing Day sales in Australia are known for the door busting crowds fighting to get the best deals. Perhaps it’s time Australia’s online retailers got in on the act, with the promise of genuinely hot bargains without the crowds and parking hassles.
Inspiration can be drawn from the US online stores that are becoming a lot more involved in the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday sales. In recent years online stores benefited from their own Cyber Monday, which followed Black Friday and took advantage of shoppers unable to find deals or products they were seeking during the weekend retail madness.
This year Cyber Monday sales topped $1 billion, up 16 per cent from last year, which is significant given the country’s economic situation. This is on top of online sales of $648 million on Black Friday itself, an increase of 9 per cent from 2009. This figure was part of the $45 billion spent on Black Friday in total.
It would be great to see online shopping being a large feature of the post-Christmas sales, assisted by gift vouchers given as Christmas presents.
Perhaps the biggest stumbling block, apart from the “I want it now” factor is delivery. There’s always a postal backlog because of Christmas demand and public holidays. Delivering the products by freight companies can also be costly. Myer, synonymous with traditional post-Christmas sales, has seen an increase in its online sales. However its CEO, Bernie Brookes, says shipping prices are becoming a hurdle.
This is where some innovation is required to attract those shoppers who feel the effort associated getting to a shopping centre, fighting for a car park and nudging their way through hoards of bargain hunters is worth it to save on shipping costs. Even if the shipping costs aren’t an issue there’s still the challenge of making people feel like they’re getting a hot online bargain, especially when the strong Australian dollar means good deals on overseas sites.
For example, amazon.com has lightning sales and promotions every hour on Black Friday featuring new sales and promotion. Once you place an item in your shopping cart you have 15 minutes to complete the purchase. This creates an end time, to promote legitimate spending and a sense of urgency, while providing users a reasonable amount of time so they don’t feel rushed.
Excitement without the mayhem-Sounds like a good online Christmas time initiative to me.