One of the biggest holiday season mistakes you can make is not preparing now.

2015 will be the Christmas that online shopping via mobile becomes a standard way of life – and the businesses that can capitalise on this trend best are set to reap the rewards.

Australians will spend around $7 billion online in the lead-up to Christmas, with the biggest flurry to occur in the first week of December, according research by marketing software company Adobe. 

“Holiday shopping is a huge investment and consumers get more sophisticated every year with their online and mobile shopping in order to secure the most popular gifts at the best prices,” says Tamara Gaffney, principal research analyst, Adobe Digital Index.

“The average Australian internet user will spend a total of $328 online during November and December, driving around 18% of total online sales for the year.”

Gaffney says mobile is again playing a significant role in holiday shopping behaviour.

“Over the next two months we expect 14% of ecommerce purchases in Australia to be transacted via smartphones and around 8% via tablets,” she says.

On top of this massive spend, it goes without saying that Australian consumers will also search for their gift ideas online at unprecedented levels – 31% will browse via smartphones and 12% via tablets, according to Adobe.

That's why renowned online entrepreneur and commentator Neil Patel says in terms of the online aspect of your business, you need to be ready for a major mobile influx of visitors.

He says this should include “a fully responsive website”, as “Google’s search results will favour mobile friendly sites (so it’s worth running a quick test on your website to see if it passes muster).”

Online retailers should also consider a mobile-optimised checkout process, Patel says in an article on the Forbes website, because while “it’s easy to overlook the shopping cart... this is the number one point of departure for frustrated mobile users”.

“One of the biggest holiday season mistakes you can make is not preparing now,” Patel says. “Huge sales goals aren’t won by freak accident or the random meanderings of cultural whim. Instead, they are won by planning, preparing, and rehearsing far in advance.”

Ecommerce inbound marketing specialist David Bernstein believes that if you’ve never experienced the digital demands that a modern-day holiday sales season brings to bear, “nothing can prepare you for what’s about to come”.

“If your site takes more than three seconds to load (for example), you could lose up to 40% of your buyers,” he claims on the HubSpot Blogs website.

“If you haven’t already started planning your blogs, videos, tweets, and Facebook posts, get on that pronto,” Bernstein says. “Some are already advertising for the holidays, which puts you behind the times.”

"With paid options extending to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even Instagram, you (also) need to determine the best outlet for (any) paid ads,” he continues. “Then make sure your message fits your outlet and audience.”

“Are you (also) ready to field all questions and complaints? Someone should be alert … to keep an eye on social channels, answer the phone, or respond to emails. Keeping buyers satisfied is one of the most important tasks you’ll tackle.”

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