Holiday Season 2008 – What can you expect?
The holiday season is fast approaching, and in the current economy, it may seem even more stressful than usual. A recent study released by the Mediamark Research & Intelligence company states that more than 62 million Americans will start their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. That means that 1 in 3 shoppers will begin making Holiday purchases this month. Will those shoppers be buying from you? According to results of the 2008 eHoliday Study, more than half of online retailers expect their holiday sales to increase at least fifteen percent over last year. Can you say the same?
The Internet has gone from being a luxury to the holiday shopper, to becoming a necessity. Referencing the 2008 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, the number of people buying gifts online is expected to remain steady, and consumers will be dependent on the Internet like never before. As the survey stated, "the Internet will influence 33.6 percent of holiday purchases, up from 30.2 percent last year and 28.9 percent in 2006." Consumers are using the Internet to compare prices on hot gifts, explore stores, come up with gift ideas, and make some of their holiday purchases from the comfort of their own homes.
In a study completed by Shop.org, consumers acknowledged that it was the convenience of 24-hour shopping that is one of the main reasons why they choose to buy online. Shoppers' other top reasons for buying online instead of in stores include 'not wanting to fight crowds' (41.1%), 'easy price comparisons' (36.4%), and 'free shipping' (33.3%). Also, nearly one in four shoppers says they are spending more online due to high gas prices, more than double the number which said the same last year. So there will be plenty of consumers online, will they find you?
The Search Crowds
It is certainly no secret that search engine use has been on the rise since their inception. According to a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/258/report_display.aspx
">recent report by PEW Internet, "The percentage of Internet users who use search engines on a typical day has been steadily rising from about one-third of all users in 2002, to a new high of just under one-half (49%)."
Avid searchers are more likely to be the consumers you want, because they buy. A recent comScore study, illustrates the correlation between how much someone searches and how much they spend. The "Heavy searchers" group makes up just 16% of the population online, but spends a robust 35% of total dollars online. The next group, "Medium searchers," comprises 23% of the population online and spends a significant 34 percent of total online dollars. So what does this mean for you? If your company wants to do well in the online retail market, you need to position yourself in front of the shoppers, by using the tools they use, search engines.
How to reach them…
Search Engine Marketing is one of the most popular means of staying competitive this holiday season. The Shop.org study offers an insight into what SEM services online retailers are utilizing. 42.6% of the online retailers who participated in this survey said they were adding product videos. 32.7% were adding customer reviews and 25% said they were creating Facebook pages to promote their sites. To appeal to price-conscious customers, 27.1% said they were adding clearance sale pages to their sites, Shop.org said. Most of the online retailers who participate in the survey said they also planned to offer free shipping to attract customers, but 21.3% of them said they would raise the minimum purchase requirement this year.
You know your customers are online, and you know they'll be using the internet and search engines this holiday season, the question is, will they find you? Search Engine Marketing will prove to be a powerful means for getting the online business your company wants, especially in the upcoming months. Though SEM is a long term strategy for getting high search results, targeted traffic, and measurable ROI, there is still time to implement some changes that could benefit your company this holiday season. Don’t lose your customers to the competition. Step up your SEM campaign now!