According to results of the 2008 eHoliday Study from Shop.org, 56.1% of online retailers expect their holiday sales to increase at least fifteen percent over last year, compared to 77.5% of retailers surveyed last year who expected their sales to grow more than 15 percent.
Scott Silverman, Executive Director of Shop.org, says "...Retailers will be heavily promotional to attract shoppers on a budget, but have also invested in new site features to improve the online buying experience."
Despite an increase in transportation costs, retailers do not plan to cut back on popular free shipping promotions. This year:
- 78% of retailers plan to offer free shipping with conditions
- 40.4% of retailers are compensating for increased shipping costs by renegotiating terms with shipping providers
- 33.3% are closely managing company headcount
- 15.8% are reducing other promotions
- 21.3% of retailers say they will require a higher purchase amount for customers to be eligible for free shipping
- 10.6% will cut back on usage of free shipping with no conditions
In addition to free shipping promotions, many retailers have rolled out new website features to improve the customer experience.
- 42.9% of retailers added or improved site search to help customers navigate sites more easily
- 42.6% added product video
- 32.7% offered customer reviews
... to give shoppers more information to make buying decisions.
For price-focused shoppers:
- 27.1% of retailers have added and enhanced clearance sale pages
- 31.3% added featured sale pages
- 25.0% of online retailers added a Facebook page this year
58% of consumers acknowledge that 24-hour shopping convenience is one of the main reasons why they choose to buy online. Additionally, shoppers' other top reasons for buying online instead of in stores include:
- Not wanting to fight crowds (41.1%)
- Easy price comparisons (36.4%)
- Free shipping (33.3%) Also, nearly one in four shoppers says they are
- Online spending due to high gas prices (23.1%)
Helen Malani, Shopzilla's Online Shopping Expert, concludes "... budget-focused consumers... are starting on the web to look for gift ideas... whether they make those holiday purchases online or in stores, the Internet will have a tremendous influence... this year."
For more information about the study, please visit Shop.org here.