Marks & Spencer has reported a 22.7% increase in online sales in the three months to the end of December, though it wasn’t enough to prevent an overall decline in sales.
Like-for-like sales fell by 2.1%, though there was a small improvement over the last eight weeks of the year during which M&S launched a sale, with general merchandise sales up 0.5%.
M&S’s disappointing results come after Next achieved impressive sales figures over the festive season, with the latter reporting that in-store and online sales increased by 12% in the period November 1 to December 24.
John Lewis also had a record breaking end to 2013, reporting that online sales for the five weeks to 28 December were 22.6% up on last year with johnlewis.com accounting for 31.8% of the total John Lewis business during this period.
Having previously examined the reasons behind John Lewis’ continued success in ecommerce, I thought I’d compare Next and M&S’s approaches to online retail.
Over the last decade, the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday has become known as the major sales high for retailers in the run-up to Christmas.
But with the gifting season expected to exceed £10bn overall this year, retailers shouldn't put all their presents under the ‘Cyber Weekend’ tree this year.
As less forward-thinking retailers have gone under in the past couple of weeks, John Lewis has been a high street success story, thanks in no small part to its multichannel approach.
The retaier achieved a 44% increase in online sales over Christmas, so what lessons are there for other retailers?
I've been asking John Lewis' Head of Online Delivery and Customer Experience Sean O'Connor abut the secrets behind its success...
It proved to be a fruitful Christmas for John Lewis, with like-for-like sales up 13% in the five weeks to December 29 compared to the same period in 2011.
And the news from its ecommerce store was even more impressive. Online sales grew almost three-times faster at 44.3% and now account for a quarter of all group sales.
In fact it reached more than £800m in annual sales through Johnlewis.com in December.
So how has John Lewis managed to pull off such a massive increase in online sales? Here’s a run down of some of the reasons behind its continued success...
Christmas is traditionally a time when we meet up with our families to share gifts and overindulge on food and drink.
But new data shows it’s also increasingly becoming a time to go online and indulge in some retail therapy.
Stats from Experian Hitwise show that Christmas 2012 was the busiest ever for online retailers in the UK, with consumers making 84m visits to retail websites on Christmas Eve and 107m visits on Christmas Day.
This is an increase of 86% and 71% respectively compared to 2011.
Amazon came out on top in the battle of the retailers, leapfrogging eBay to become the most visited ecommerce site on Christmas Day with more than 12% of all visits.
Email is considered to be the most important channel for driving online sales this Christmas, according to a survey of marketing professionals by eCircle.
More than 40% of respondents said email is ‘very important’ for driving sales, followed by SEO and SEM (both 33%).
In comparison, social media is considered to be the fourth most important channel with 20%.
This tallies with data from the Econsultancy / Adestra Email Marketing Census.
It shows that more than two-thirds of companies (70%) rate email marketing as ‘excellent’ (23%) or ‘good’ (47%) in terms of return on investment. While this represents a slight fall from 2011 (72%), this is still a higher ROI than any other digital marketing channel except search engine optimisation (79%).
Now it's a few weeks after Christmas, a few more stats on sales figures over the festive period have been released.
Due to the consumer downturn many retailers have reported a fall in like-for-like sales, but online retail has continued to grow this Christmas, though this is not necessarily enough to compensate for poor high street sales. Here's a round-up of some of the most recent e-commerce stats.