Winter is coming. The beginning of Q4 means shorter days, longer nights and the appearance of Halloween pumpkins and synthetic cobwebs in our office windows.

Yet for many ecommerce managers, this time of year also means a slowly building feeling of dread; a quiet fear that, this year, your brand won’t be able to capitalise on the crucial holiday sales period. It’s a harrowing thought.

So to get everyone in the Halloween spirit, our online experts here at Yieldify have unearthed some of the most terrifying truths about ecommerce.

These are the kind of stats that keep ecommerce directors awake at night. But as they always say, it’s better the devil you know..

1.  Brands still haven’t figured out omnichannel

Just 7% of consumers are ‘extremely satisfied’ that brands provide a seamless, integrated, and consistent experience across channels. Confidence in retailers spending decisions is at an all-time low. Customers feel that brands invest more into generating sales than they do in making their customer service an integrated experience.

2. Mobile and tablet traffic are still skyrocketing

Traffic through mobile and tablet has more than quadrupled since 2011. A shockingly high 46.7% of all online traffic came from mobile last Christmas day, showing just how critical the mobile online journey is for brands that want to hit their targets this season.

3. Yet retailers are failing to keep up with consumers’ expectations

55% of consumers say they are not satisfied with their mobile shopping experience. Despite a real uplift in mobile sales, users are not enjoying shopping through these channels.

4. And 64% of retailers overlook m-commerce opportunities

Only one in three retailers intend to invest in mobile over the holidays. Make mobile a priority and you’ll avoid a horror-show of missed opportunities to drive revenue.

5. 65% of all users who fill their shopping baskets then go on to abandon site without making a purchase

Two thirds of all users that start to stock up change their mind before reaching your check-out.

6. And 75% of consumers who abandon their basket originally had the intent to purchase

And most of those users were going to place an order – a fact likely to rouse Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’ levels of madness in an ecommerce director.

7. Consumers have become vampires

This year, there has been a 30% increase in online shopping between midnight and 6am. Brands need to adapt to this always-on lifestyle if they want to keep up. Downtime can no longer be scheduled for the graveyard shift without jeopardising potential purchases

8. And they can literally shop anywhere

A recent study showed that 10% of consumers shop on the toilet and a rogue 1% even checked out mid-coitus. Don’t underestimate your consumer’s desire to purchase – where there’s a will, there’s a way – but brands that fail to take their omnichannel strategy seriously will lose out on new purchase opportunities.

9. Big brands are racing ahead of the pack

82% of consumers say Amazon provide the best customer service and while juggernauts like them seem to really be stepping up their customer service game, it could leave smaller brands struggling to keep pace. Personalisation is a great way to add that little bit extra service without breaking the bank.

10. Christmas 2014 will be defined by your brand’s ecommerce offering

This year, 44% of consumers plan to do their holiday shopping online – more than ever before. Tinsel and faux-frost lining your shop window will have a much lower impact on your sales than having a clean, efficient and easy to navigate website.

11. Mobile is punching below its weight

Mobile purchasing browsing activity has been shown to represent 15% of all visits, but only 3.5% sales. So why the drop? Consumers actively want to purchase on their smart phones, but brands are struggling to create a buyer journey that seals the deal.

12. But this is exactly how affluent consumers want to shop

Mobile websites on tablet is the place where the greatest percentage of affluent shoppers made mobile purchases – at one out of five consumers. Brands need to work hard to create personalised buyer journeys and make the most of this growing opportunity or risk losing out to competitors.

13. Online retail is expanding 11.9 times faster than brick and mortar stores

In Europe as a whole, online retailers are expanding 11.9 times faster than conventional outlets, although ‘only’ 5.6 times in the UK and 3.3 times in the US. This needs to be reflected in your brand’s future investments.

So what does all this tell us?

Some of these statistics could seem downright terrifying in the run up to the holiday season. But what brands actually need to focus on is the opportunity that lies ahead of them if they have the foresight to grasp it in time.  

Ecommerce is by far the fastest growing retail market in Europe, with sales in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Spain expected to reach a combined total of £111.2 billion by the end of 2014.

Additionally, once online sales represent 5% or more of domestic retailing, continued growth of online retailers will occur at the expense of conventional stores.

Investing in your online platform and ways to convert users into customers on site has never been more critical.

For every flaw in your online customer experience, you give your competitors the opportunity to tempt the consumer away and steal that sale. Now that really is a truly terrifying thought.