Happy Endings and Hopeful Beginnings

Experian Hitwise Boxing Day visits 2012John Sollars of Stinkyink.com marvels at the shopping mania of the festive week and resolves to be strong willed in 2013.

Wow, what a Twixtmas that was. Experian Hitwise figures for 2012 show that Christmas Day is fast catching up on Boxing Day as the busiest online shopping day of the year…And that 26 December 2012 was the busiest ever recorded – much as I forecast a couple of weeks ago. The report says that only 6 million visits separated the 25th and 26th in 2012, so next Christmas the Boxing Day figures could be trumped by the numbers shopping on Christmas Day.

At my company, the busiest day was actually New Year’s Eve, and because it was only a half day for Royal Mail I had everyone in the stores ‘a pickin and a packin’ and managed to clear a huge backlog in just three hours.

So, what does that tell us about the year to come?

At Stinkyink, we had a very positive December, which is usually our weakest month (people don’t usually buy ink cartridges as Christmas presents!) and it actually outperformed June, August and September. This follows on from a very strong Q4 and so I hope augurs well for 2013. 2012 was a strange sort of year, with major online disruptions from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (yet another four day bank holiday weekend) and of course the Olympics and Paralympics. None of these events will happen again so there are no excuses for this year.

And New Year’s resolutions?

For me and my business, 2013 is the year I will say “NO”. Last year I invested significant amounts of hard earned cash in various marketing initiatives, none of which paid any measurable dividends, so this year whenever I have a bright idea that is going to cost money the answer has to be “No thanks”. The begging letters are going straight into the bin; I’ve reduced the amount of sponsorship I used to dole out; and I am fully focussed into putting a real effort into our internal systems to make us more efficient.

I am finding it very difficult to agree our sales budget for the upcoming year. My gut feeling is that we won’t grow more than between 5 – 10% and probably at the lower end of that forecast. However, because of the very positive Q4 I have to temper my pessimism with a bit of optimism, so the compromise that I have come up with is that we will put a modest sales forecast together for Q1 and then after we see how we are shaping up, will confirm the rest of the year in mid March. I realise that it is a bit of a fudge, but I do like to get these things right!

These then are my New Year’s resolutions. I should be able to keep to both of those quite comfortably, but ask me in December how we have done and how long I managed to keep saying “No” for!

Experian Hitwise Boxing Day visits 2012

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