6 Holiday Trends for Online Retail
Increase your chances for success this holiday season.

Gearing up your online retail business for the upcoming holiday season? A recent Forrester Research presentation reveals six key trends from the 2010 holiday season that should influence your 2011 strategic planning for the next few months.1

  • Online shopping continues to take share from stores. Consumers pledged last year to increase their spending online relative to bricks-and-mortar shopping. The top two advantages consumers see in online shopping? Wider selection of products and increased convenience. Adjust your marketing messaging accordingly.
  • Holiday offers have become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Web-marketing data shows internet searches for retail and discount coupon codes spiked in November and December 2010. Every search from a prospective customer is a potential sale. Are you giving them what they’re hoping to find?
  • Shoppers expect free shipping. Surveys show many consumers expect free shipping for their online purchases. A must for online business success is a free shipping option or a strategy to counter free shipping offers from competitors, such as threshold-free shipping. And don’t forget, during the holidays, timeliness is critical to consumers willing to pay a premium for expedited delivery. Is your express shipping plan in place? Find shipping and returns solutions right-sized for your online retail business.
  • Search and email are key. For consumers of both hard and soft goods, email and search remain highly influential when shopping online. And Forrester data shows retailers’ own email touchpoints to be the most effective channel for reaching consumers with CyberMonday deals.
  • Key dates are gaining in importance. For 2010 online sales, the top three holiday selling dates (Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and Nov. 29, respectively) occurred during CyberWeek. It’s important to develop a plan to maximize sales during this critical time period.
  • Social and mobile matter more every year. Last year, 23 percent of shoppers shared CyberMonday deals with others in their social networks. One of your best marketing channels is your customers’ Facebook feeds, which you can seed with coupons and other offers.

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1Sucharita Mulpuru, "Five Retail eCommerce Trends to Watch In 2011," Forrester Research (Jan. 31, 2011), http://www.forrester.com/rb/Research/five_retail_ecommerce_trends_to_watch_in/q/id/58459/t/2.

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