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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : December 16, 2011

2011 Holiday trends: mobile, deals, gadgets

With just over a week until the present-ripping feeding frenzy of Christmas morning, merchants online and off are pushing last minute sales, re-stocking shelves and tweaking ad campaigns. Is it working? Seven days, so far, have pushing the $1 billion mark for online sales according to comScore, and there is still time to increase sales. Here are a few tips:

by Kristina Knight

"There is no doubt that cyber-shopping is becoming 'institutionalized' in American households. The price of fuel, crowded roads, fewer retail stores following the recession are all dis-incentives for the shopper to stick to the old ways," said Fred Lizza, CEO of Dydacomp. "Combine that with free-shipping, discounts, and better, faster, smarter eCommerce sites that make comparison shopping easier for the average non-technical shopper, and cyber-shopping is here to stay."

How can brands compete in an ever-crowded online space? Martin Hayward, Mirror Image, offers his top three tips for online merchants.

First, optimize content delivery according to the user's device. Knowing if a shopper is accessing the store via PC, smartphone or tablet allows the merchant to deliver relevant, endpoint-specific images, ads and even apps.

"The convenience of online shopping, along with Free Shipping, has made it a cost-effective alternative to driving to the mall," said Hayward. "And with mobile devices, consumers can easily crosscheck online product prices and then make their purchase from the lowest cost site."

Second, log both 'ad view' and 'content view' data so you know how many ads are viewed to completion, which ads are dropped, how many clicks, when the content was viewed and from what location.

Finally, understand that shoppers are still going to be searching and shopping online through Monday, December 26, or Tuesday, December 27, hoping to find those last minute gifts. So use geo-location targeting and bid in real-time to optimize campaign ROI.

And one final tip from Lizza: invest in quality inventory stocking software so that customers know they can get a product they want from your cyber shelf.

"Inventory tracking is a 'gotta-have'. In today's economy, there's a very high price for lost sales because of out-of-stock conditions, and absolutely nobody wants to carry excess inventory," said Lizza. "Shoppers will not tolerate ordering a product, then being told later it's out of stock. They want to know at the time of placing an order - online, by phone or in-store - that the items is available, in-stock and when it will be shipped and delivered. That's especially critical as the holidays get closer."

As for the items getting the most notice: 2011 may go down as the Year of the Gadget.

"Gadgets and tech items have increasingly grown in popularity in recent years but even we didn't expect to see this," said SortPrice co-founder and CEO Doron Simovitch. "Not only do you have consumers actively seeking out electronics, it would also appear that many shoppers who are on the fence about what to buy are turning to the category to fill their shopping lists this year as well."

SortPrice tells us consumer electronics - including tablets, HD television sets and smartphones - account for five of the ten most wanted products.

Tags: 2011 holiday shopping, 2011 holiday trends, Dydacomp, ecommerce, Mirror Image, social commerce, SortPrice

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