E-commerce: Three Lessons Learned From Holidays Past
With the holiday shopping season nearly upon us, it’s time to evaluate your marketing plan and make sure you’re prepared for what’s to come. Shop.org, the online arm of the National Retail Federation, offers the following to tips on ensuring your holiday marketing plans are up to snuff in a new best practices report.
1. Be ready for shoppers early in the season. One-third of consumers surveyed after last year’s holiday season said they started shopping online earlier than in 2004, up 6 percent from a similar survey held after that holiday season, according to the report. Some Shop.org members revealed that free shipping offers worked better earlier in the season than late and that December sales projections fell short because consumers did more shopping before the month started.
2. Expect large online sales on the holidays themselves. Following the hype surrounding CyberMonday, the Monday after Thanksgiving that’s seen online sales spikes in recent years, Shop.org officials recommended keeping a few personnel around on Thanksgiving and Christmas days. The group reported that all three days represented significant sales for merchants who participated in the study. In addition to planning sales and promotions for these days, the report suggests making sure that a few IT reps are kept on-call in the event your site experiences more traffic than it can handle.
3. Focus on paid search. Although some pundits have suggested that organic search optimization is more worthwhile than paid search, many merchants increased spending on paid search in the days approaching Christmas last year. Shop.org officials noted that the ROI of paid search dipped in correspondence with this increased spending, and cautioned merchants to pay close attention to both paid and organic search to get the most bang for their buck.
For a copy of Shop.org’s “2006 Online Retail Holiday Best Practices Report,” visit http://www.shop.org/eholiday06/summary-download/default.asp