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Banking glitch affects ‘Mega Monday’ sales

By Retail Technology | Thursday December 12 2013

Survey by UK e-retail trade organisation confirms initial reports that sales of nearly half of UK online retailers were affected by a banking glitch on ‘Mega Monday’

Results of a survey carried out among the retailer membership of e-retail trade organisation IMRG have today confirmed the problems experienced by RBS and Natwest customers on Mega Monday had a negative impact sales.

Traditionally the busiest online shopping day in the run to Christmas in the UK, e-commerce traffic on 2 December this year increased as forecast

But conversions were down, with IMRG confirming 44% of retailers surveyed said the banking glitch had a negative impact on sales. Of those retailers that were affected, the average loss in daily sales was 4.3%, however, one retailer reported sales were down 17% as a result.

While 8% of retailers surveyed stated they were uncertain as to whether there was indeed an impact on sales, the 48% that were unaffected put their resilience down to the multiple payment and delivery options available to consumers. 

Best still yet to come

In canvassing opinion among its membership, it also found almost nine out of 10 retailers (89%) claim their busiest Christmas online trading day is yet to come. 

Neil Sansom, e-commerce director at Moss Bros, confirmed that the RBS/Natwest banking glitch “undoubtedly adversely affected sales”. But he said: “We extended our Mega Monday promotion for a further 24 hours so RBS customers were not disappointed after receiving numerous customer requests.”

Sansom added: “Mega Monday was a strong trading day for Moss Bros, with Black Friday also now firmly established in the UK promotional calendar. We still expect online trading to increase in the lead up to Christmas and traditionally our sale post Xmas is also very strong.”

Growing consumer confidence

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “While many retailers reported strong sales on 2 December, the overwhelming majority said their peak festive trading day is yet to come. It appears we are seeing a change in consumer shopping behaviour over the festive period. 

“Overall confidence in online shopping is undoubtedly increasing and as a result we are seeing more consumers leaving their festive shopping until nearer the big day.”

The majority (60%) of retailers believe their busiest online trading day will fall between 8 and 17 December, with 46% believing it will fall between the 8 and 12 December. 

This tallies with other predictions as well as a survey IMRG conducted in September, which revealed 37% of online retailers expected the week commencing 9 December to be their busiest, compared with 29% who thought their peak would be week commencing 2 December.

Sean McKee, head of e-commerce and customer services at Schuh, stated: “For Schuh the key day pre-Christmas is likely to be evenly spread between 9 and 16 December. 

"Over the past couple of years we have seen the peak move pronouncedly closer to Christmas, with mobile users in particular tending to peak within the last two weeks. For them, Sunday 15 and Monday 16 are certainly going to be the days to watch.”

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