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December 25, 2013

Highstreet stores to take a hit from online shopping on Boxing Day

Retailers are pulling out all the stops to win the Christmas sales war race in 2013.

By Duncan Macrae

Forget queuing at 5am on Boxing Day to be front in line for the start of the clearance sales, or the hoards of people fighting over the last Furby on the shelves to get that cut-price bargain.

Retail experts now predict that the Boxing Day trip to the high street will soon become a thing of the past, with the growth in online sales seeing us shun the high street in favour of shopping from our sofas.

Last year a record number of shoppers went online on December 26, with Experian reporting that 114 million visits to retail websites were made by shoppers looking to clinch that bargain. And this is only set to continue with an estimated £5.1 billion being spent in just three days over Christmas (between December 24 and 26), according to analysts at retail consultants at Verdict.

But with retailers pulling out all the stops to offer the best online deals to tempt shoppers, what factors will ultimately decide who wins the race in the online sales war for 2013?

Adrian Butcher from OpenText, the leader in enterprise information management, whose retail experience includes working for and with some of the UK’s largest retailers, said: "Savvy shoppers are getting ahead of the January sales, by beating the rush and getting everything from homeware to fashion staples and gadgets online. While retailers have been furiously discounting prices in a bid to attract shoppers, it will be critical that their good deals aren’t overshadowed by simple mistakes.

"Clunky websites, a lack of visual consistency between products viewed on different devices and poor online traffic management can be a deal breaker in the sales process. Retailers need to communicate clearly with the customer by ensuring they have a sound online infrastructure and automated processes in place to deliver an excellent customer experience."

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