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ECommerce Sites Gear Up for A Hopeful Holiday Shopping Season

Posted on October 15, 2010 by Joelle

Controversy still remains whether the economy is getting back on its feet, but research shows that internet retailers remain hopeful, Colin Sebastian of Lazard Capital Markets agrees estimating 10-15% growth in sales in 2010’s fourth quarter over last year’s holiday season.   The optimistic approach isn’t short of serious strategy; while growth is expected for two-thirds of e-commerce companies, they approach the holiday shopping season armed with free shipping coupons, increasing focus in social networking, and decreasing shopping cart abandonment.

Another survey shows that the majority of consumers plan to start their shopping trips not at the stores but online; 49% of consumers expect to shop directly on Marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay and 41% say they will start on search engines, the favorite being Google by 67% and Yahoo at 19%. Internet retailers can expect higher customer acquisition costs due to higher marketplace commissions and paid search ads during the holiday season.

'Tis the season for free shipping! It’s reported that 85% of e-commerce sites will offer free shipping promotions specific for the upcoming holiday season.  Top three forms of free shipping promotions this year are expected to be:
27% will offer free shipping on select products at select times during this holiday season
26% will offer free shipping on select products throughout this holiday season
13% will offer unrestricted free shipping at select times during this holiday season

Other marketing initiates internet retailers are bumping up this season are mobile and social networking. 38% of e-commerce sites plan to use texting as a way to promote sales and easy shopping cart access, and 25% plan to improve traffic to their sites through sales texts including hyperlinks directly to products. Social networking hits a high this holiday season at 91 % of internet retailers using social networks like Facebook and Twitter to market with 14% of those with “extensive plans.”

The talk of tight wallets and unemployment rates have 73% of consumers saying they will spend the same as last year during fourth quarter, and 18% of consumers report that they will spend more. Interesting. So most consumers plan to be spending the same but 90% of consumers are starting their holiday search online. This leaves huge opportunity for online retailers to capture sales before other e-tailers or retailer do, and is reflective in their optimistic attitudes and serious plans for capturing consumers.

Last year experienced record highs of shopping cart abandonment in the mid-September through Mid-November season. Researchers tie this to high volume of browsers and waiters, and predict the same for this year. The majority of online shoppers plan to research and find the best deals on the products they know they want, and then wait for the conditioned sales after Thanksgiving. 20% of consumers said they will do all their shopping online this season, and 33% will use the internet mainly for comparison, but would consider buying if they got the best deal, this is probably the biggest factor playing into high shopping cart abandonment rates. 

Stay tuned my next Holiday update will be on top selling products for this holiday season!


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