Online shopping is growing to help consumers save during this holiday season.
Is your company prepared for the e-holiday trend?
by Natalie Cukerman, Business Development
Save, save, save. Consumers are very money-conscious this holiday season and are considering e-commerce as an alternative way of shopping. The U.S Commerce department stated, “e-commerce sales increased nearly 13.7% during the third quarter from the same period a year ago and captured 4.2% of total retail sales, a new record for e-commerce.” (The Internet Retailer)
Consumers are buying online to save money with “free shipping and no taxes”, affirmed comScore. As a result, “US web retail sales increased 11.4% in early November.” (The Internet Retailer) Among the online bestseller products are Books & Magazines, Computers/Peripherals/PDAs, and Consumer Electronics. They all showed a 10% increase in sales compared to Q3 2009.
Consumers not only buy online, they also search for prices, find exclusive offers, and compare reviews. According to the Nielsen Report on Online Shopping Trends for 2010, “57% of online respondents consider reviews prior to buying”, especially on cars and software. Moreover, 40% would not buy consumer electronics without consulting online reviews.
Companies often see this as a double-edge sword. Even though they can segment their target audience and reach consumers easily, bad reviews can kill a product or even a brand in just one click. The Nielsen report showed that “41% of online consumers will share a negative product experience online via Twitter or write a review”.
Mobile Holiday Season
“Mobile commerce sales in the U.S. will grow to $3.7 billion this year, with most of the buying coming in the holiday season”, stated ABI Research. Although mobile sales have the potential to play a significant role in retail, comScore proposes it’s not quite there yet. Consumers are using mobile devices this holiday season mainly for price research and comparison.
Social Media Special Offers
Businesses are also using social media to get to their customers. Price reductions are not the only temptation they offer; coupons and exclusive day sales are being promoted online, and have heavily increased traffic to websites and Facebook pages, according to comScore.
For example, Wal-Mart has been posting online specials on Twitter. They are also trying to acquire more friends (and future clients): “Want to see even more holiday values and special savings? Follow us on Twitter @WalmartSpecials and find gifts for everyone on your list”.
Whether you like it or not, online shopping has started to change the holiday season. Big companies are facing e-commerce as a shocking reality. Is your business prepared to compete in the cyber world?
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