Distant Sleigh Bells?

I woke up this morning and it was 30 degrees outside. I was ready for baseball in October but not seeing my own breath quite yet. Seems like others feel the same way. However, the pre-holiday push appears to be making its way to a mall or PC near you. Yes, fellow marketers, it gets better: US shoppers are ready to shop, shop, shop online.

In a recent BIGresearch study, those who plan to purchase more than last year plan to do it online. The numbers don't look all that bad:

Spending Intentions in the Next Three Months

------------October 2003-----------------

Internet Catalogue TV Shopping
More 19.4% 19.9% 4.7%
Same 56.2% 55.9% 52.9%
Less 24.4% 33.2% 42.4%

-------------October 2002------------------

More 24.0% 11.7% 4.6%
Same 57.4% 58.8% 60.0%
Less 18.6% 29.5% 35.4%

Source: BIGresearch.



Whether it's bricks or clicks, Americans are used to the economy as it is and deep discounts. They are surfing to find 'em. If you are an eTailer, consider some of the following information that the FTC has released to consumers:

Shop Wisely

Protect your privacy. Provide personal information only if you know who's collecting it, why, and how it's going to be used. When online, look for the company's privacy policy, or ask the customer service representative when on the phone.

While online order only on a secure server. Look for an unbroken key or padlock at the bottom of the browser window to ensure your transmission is protected. Buy only from Web vendors that protect your financial information when you order online.

Guard your online passwords. Use different passwords when you're making a purchase than you use to log on to your computer or network. Pay the safest way. A credit card offers the most consumer protections.

Know Your Rights

Can you get your money back? Check out refund and return policies before you buy.

Read the fine print. When shopping online, sometimes key restrictions on a sale are contained in the "fine print" on a website.

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