During Google's earnings call on Thursday, Jonathan Rosenberg, senior vice president of product management at Google, told investors, analysts and media local and commerce are two emerging sectors Google plans to nurture this year. Rosenberg said five million businesses claimed their Google Place pages. The tech company also recently started testing a new ad product called Boost, aimed at giving businesses a fast way to promote their companies online, as well as connect with people who search for them. And in commerce, the company found a method to close the loop from offline to online shopping. The key to unlocking mobile commerce was to make it easy for people to search for an item and then purchase it from their mobile device.
Baynote recently released the Baynote Holiday Online Shopping Experience Survey, which analyzes 500 U.S. online holiday shoppers during the month of December. The study provides a look at consumer satisfaction with their digital experience across several areas including mobile and social.
It turns out non-traditional promotions show promise. Thirty one percent of respondents were influenced by promotions through Facebook, while only 17% were swayed by Twitter, and 20% were influenced by mobile promotions.
Similar to the thinking behind Google's mobile strategy, mobile devices show promise when it comes to getting people to make a purchase on the go. In fact, 13% of respondents used their mobile phones to make holiday purchases in 2010, while 18% used it to comparison shop.
Sixty eight percent revealed convenience was the biggest reason for making a purchase via their mobile phone. Forty six percent said they made the purchase because it was a time-sensitive promotion. Fifty one percent said it was more convenient to do it on their computer, and 26% pointed to security concerns for not making the purchase on their phone.
It appears from the study results that search engines such as Google and Bing need to improve the relevancy of search results. Poor search results led to site abandonment more often than not. Fifty-five percent of consumers abandoned sites mid-way through an online shopping session this season. Fifty percent of shoppers said it was because of misleading search results, and 48% said they abandoned sites because they couldn't find the products they were initially looking for once they arrived on retailers' sites.
And once holiday shoppers found retail Web sites, they struggled to find what they looked for. Retailers did not do a great job this season helping consumers locate items, impacting revenue margins. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they would like sites to improve their site navigation and 54% said the same for site search.
Of product recommendations, site search, site navigation and product reviews and ratings, excellent site navigation became the most valued by consumers, with 58% saying it is very important to them, followed by site search at 53%.