Top it all off

eStar client services and partner manager Kylie Williams examines what makes peak trading the icing on the cake.

Late last year when thinking ahead about the Boxing Day promotional period, it was much like most of 2020 summed up in two words: unpredictable and uncertain. However, even these two words shadowing most areas of our day to day activities and the global pandemic still in full swing, Boxing Day in terms of peak trade continued to be hugely successful.

According to insights shared by Australia Post, online shopping in Australia was up 34.9% year-on-year (yoy) in the month of December. And an astounding 52.9% increase yoy for the two weeks following Christmas, considered a Boxing Day sale period. Notably, 5.6 million households shopped online in December 2020; this is 21.3% more than those that shopped online in December 2019.

eStar clients saw a yoy increase in online sales of 55%, up from 6% the year before. Order volumes also peaked at an additional 47% and moderate increases in average order value (AOV) were evident as discounting in some places was limited due to stock pressure.

Even with the added pressure of team members working remotely, on top of a sale period, the result of a successful trading day can be attributed to a number of things, but one aspect stands out:


Preparation is key to hosting a successful event of any magnitude. Whether it is a one-day flash sale, a new season launch or a traditional holiday period. Mitigating all known short comings, planning for what-ifs and future proofing, and having the ability to adapt quickly for unknowns is evident. Preparation starts months in advance and is largely informed by Black Friday/Cyber Monday activities and tweaked. Those that saw a successful Black Friday/Cyber Monday would in general see a positive Boxing Day.

Some key items that are handled with ease when prepared for, even if they weren’t a factor you were hoping to deal with, range from payment offerings to handling of couriers. With key preparation in place, retailers can overcome these issues and still provide an excellent online shopping experience.

The staple offering of Click and Collect wasn’t just a requirement due to the surge in demand through COVID lockdowns, but also a necessity for peak trading periods. It allows a customer to securely place an order, and then collect their items with leisure (within your allowed timeframes of collection). If Click and Collect wasn’t in place over COVID, it certainly will be in now. Although it is worth noting that some decided to remove this feature for the day or period of days over Boxing Day due to continued precautions over COVID.

Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) provides flexibility to customers to pay on their agreed terms, it increases loyalty to your brand and provides you with a reach to a wider audience, and additional marketing avenue. BNPL and other payment types that are not the traditional Visa or Mastercard have proven themselves as ‘must haves’ and have removed a lot of friction from the checkout process. With a staggering 43% of overall transactions performed across eStar clients on Boxing Day, this made a huge impact in terms of sales. The combination of COVID, Christmas and two peak trade periods within weeks of each other – resulting in a vast increase in online orders – placed immense amounts of pressure on the courier companies, causing delays in pick-up and delivery of goods. To assist with the overburdened couriers, messaging was key. Providing clear information on cut off, expected delivery, tracking details and any courier delays has led to an understanding and patient consumer and where possible, if promotions aligned, meant you got early sales into this sale day.

Stock shortages or delays in receiving stock has also been extremely pivotal in playing a role in Boxing Day. This affected range, offerings, launches and which promotions were available for customers.

For some, the offers for Boxing Day 2020 were quite different. Promotions started earlier, went for longer and focused on different promotion types, ie; style focused vs sitewide.

Juggling these items but taking into account all the preparations and learnings from Black Friday/Cyber Monday, being prepared for the unknowns, being agile and communicating openly and proactively with customers attributed to another successful peak period and icing on the cake for 2020 in eCommerce.

Top it all off

Posted inOrder Management and Fulfilment