Holiday Sales Blues: Why Ecommerce Holiday Sales Were Disappointing in 2022, and What You Can Do About It

If your ecommerce holidays sales were a little disappointing in 2022, you are not alone. Many websites geared up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales turned out to be more like a steady trickle than a torrential rush. Sales came in, but not in the drastic jumps we are used to seeing after Thanksgiving.

For many businesses, the final two months of the year are their busiest time. Sales during November and December can make and break their entire year, so a slow holiday season can spell disaster. If you are one of those businesses you are probably wondering, what happened this year? What does it mean? Is E-commerce dead? What can I do about this?

Don’t worry. We’ve got your answers! Let’s start by scanning the landscape.

What we are seeing:
While ecommerce sales are still growing year over year, the growth rate slowed down a lot between 2021 and 2022, according to data gathered by Statistica.

We saw unprecedented growth in 2020 fueled by the Coronavirus pandemic, but that growth has started to taper out. Some of this mellowing is because shoppers are returning to brick and mortar stores, and some of it is just because consumers aren’t stuck at home with nothing to do but shop online.

We are also seeing customers start shopping earlier and spreading their shopping out over a longer period of time, as explained by Forbes. Concerns about the economy, especially the rising inflation rate, has customers clutching their wallets a little tighter.

Additionally, the inflation rate may also be skewing some of our holiday revenue numbers. While we did see higher sales in the holiday shopping season of 2022, there are some concerns that these rises may be in part due to the fact that things cost more.

What Does This Mean:
It’s not you, it’s the economy! If your sales aren’t where you’d like them to be and you’ve seen a lack-luster holiday season, it’s not because you are doing anything wrong. Shoppers are simply taking more time to shop around and consider their options before settling on a purchase.

The ecommerce boom of 2020 couldn’t last forever, so we are seeing the natural leveling off of that boom. Your conversion rate may be down from 2020 and 2021, especially in the months of November and December, but that doesn’t mean your marketing strategy isn’t working. We are in the midst of a shopping trend shift.

What Can You Do?
Everything I said earlier may have you feeling down, but the situation is far from hopeless. E-Commerce is still growing, and the economy always recovers. Right now, you just have to adjust to the current market conditions. Here’s how!

  1. Keep up your marketing!
    Online shoppers are taking more time to pull the trigger, but doesn’t mean they won’t come back. Customers are doing more research, and planning out their shopping instead of giving into impulse buys, but sales are still happening!

Keep up your marketing so they know where to find you.

Shoppers can’t shop your store if they don’t know you exist, and they can’t return to complete a transaction if they forget about the items in their cart. Keep your business on the radar through maintaining your social media, SEO, and PPC campaigns. You should also consider investing in email marketing through newsletter and loyalty programs to keep your customers coming back

      2. Show your customers why they should choose you.
Help your customers choose you by showing them why you are the best deal for them. Highlight what sets you apart from your competition, and how your products and services benefit them.

Consider adding testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers to your site. Try listing out all the specifications and features of your products on the listing page, and including other unique bonuses your company may offer such as warranties, shipping and returns information, and package deals.

The internet means that you can reach customers from all over the world, but it also means that your competitors can reach them too. It’s easier than ever to compare prices and services between many providers, so you have to show your customers exactly what they get by choosing you!

    3. Invest in Conversion Rate Optimization.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) helps you learn more about your customers preferences and needs. With that information, you can help ease your customers’ anxiety about making a purchase, increase their enthusiasm, and keep them coming back to your site.

In CRO, tests are designed to help you learn what changes to the website’s design drive audience behavior. You can learn what sort of design changes increase the transaction rate, revenue, appointments booked, pamphlets downloaded, or whatever goals you want to achieve. Finding out, with data, what resonates with your customers eliminates all the guesswork behind website design.

In other words, CRO helps you increase the number of visitors that convert into paying customers by learning what makes them say “yes”.

The last few years have seen a lot of upheaval in the online shopping world. From massive spikes in 2020, to more modest gains in 2021, to a shift in holiday shopping habits in 2022, there’s a lot to adjust to. A strong strategy and a good digital team can help you adjust to these changes, and succeed in the online marketplace.

Ashley Mae Biggerstaff