Holiday Season Shopping

Americans Feel Comfortable Buying From Small Online Merchants During Holiday Season

Data from cloud-based eCommerce software provider Volusion shows that Americans are not counting out small businesses for their shopping this holiday season.

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The anxiety of making sure that online purchases show up on time is real. As the Christmas Day deadline looms, buyers flock to large online retailers who ship quickly and increasingly guarantee delivery dates.

Volusion, which powers many small- and medium-sized businesses, found that confidence by smaller merchants to meet the deadline is increasing.

Based on 2017 data from over 30,000 U.S. small- and medium-sized merchants who run their online stores using Volusion found an average 23 percent increase in sales YoY for the two weeks before Christmas.

Online retailers also saw an average 14 percent increase in volume of orders, and average order values increased by almost 10 percent for the same time period.

“Small and mid-sized online businesses are catching up to their larger eCommerce counterparts in so many aspects like offering quick shipping and delivery times, and that’s being reflected in consumer behavior at the holiday season. The belief before was that consumers were not willing to take the risk with purchasing gifts online from smaller merchants in case they did not arrive in time to make it under the tree. But we’ve seen a steady increase in shoppers supporting SMBs, and what often means a more unique gift, closer and closer to Christmas Day as they’ve seen they can trust how quickly their packages will arrive.”

Kevin Sproles, founder and CEO at Volusion

Best Selling Categories and Tips for This Holiday Season

Volusion also offered a list of best-selling categories during the holiday season.

  1. Sporting goods: Equipment, collectables, sports team clothes and paraphernalia
  2. Electronics: Smart home devices, mini photo printers, dash cameras
  3. Apparel: Outdoors apparel, pajamas, designer handbags, high-end briefcases and messenger bags, sweaters
  4. Health & Beauty: Sheet masks, spa products and accessories, makeup kits, luxury skin care, foam rollers, yoga equipment
  5. Home & Garden: Essential oil diffusers, kitchen gear (mixers, espresso makers, spiralizer, juicer, etc.), DIY garden kits
  6. Arts & Crafts: Decorative baskets, pottery, artwork, artisanal foods

SMBs can gear up their online stores with these tips from Volusion:

  • Expand your audience reach through Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest ads.
  • Use robust product titles and descriptions so that your products can be found easily in Google Shopping and other shopping aggregators.
  • For holiday sales, mention the promotion in your PPC ad copy and A/B test ads for performance.
  • Reach out to industry influencers/bloggers for inclusion in social media posts and holiday gift guides.
  • Create gift guides — and the more specific, the better  (i.e. the best gifts for teens/sports lovers/foodies, etc.)  Optimize these resources with descriptive title tags and meta descriptions, then pin them on Pinterest with an eye-catching image and thorough descriptions.

This data analysis by Volusion shows that small business sellers who develop a sound business and marketing strategy for handling the holiday season can compete with Amazon, Walmart, and other large eCommerce retailers.

The ability to grow sales is there for those that will commit to providing the best service during the crucial final 2 weeks of the shopping season.

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