In 2014, UK online retail exceeded £100 billion for the first time, with 14% sales growth YOY. Online sales are expected to grow a further 12% this year, to total £116 billion of retail sales by the end of the year.
What is interesting about this growth is that the profile of online and in-store gift buyers is now almost identical. In other words, for the majority of people, buying online is just as natural as buying in-store.
It stands to reason that the siloes of marketing ought to be likewise collapsed: digital advertising should have a similar effect on offline sales as it does to online, even if it’s not as immediately obvious. However, although we know from our own work that digital is a proven driver of foot traffic, reliable tracking remains tricky. And we get that it’s tough to allocate more spend to digital when its relationship with in-store isn’t conclusive.
However, we think this may be the last Christmas where this shall be the case. We’ve been keenly investigating beacon and other location tracking, and what we have found is a group of key players that are rapidly approaching maturity. Make no mistake: these promising technologies will finally allow us to ‘close the loop’ – something digital has been trying to do for the better part of a decade. We’ll be able to tell you how this or that online channel translated into offline footfall and sales.
Digital media is already at 51% and rising, meaning it’s not outlandish to speculate that next Christmas may well be dominated by the retailers who have the best grip on the online/offline relationship. So, maybe ask for some beacons in your stockings – you’ve got one year to get it right.
To find out how you can drive digital performance over the Christmas period read our POV on 'Digital Mastery For A Multi-Channel Christmas'.