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Its August, Get Ready For Holiday Shopping

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End-of-year sales success means online retailers need to start focusing on holiday initiatives.

WebTrends has provided a look at their 2005 Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report, describing sales strategies and trends among retailers.

Holiday sales contribute 50 percent or more of one in four online retailer’s annual revenue. 43 percent of those online businesses see between 25 and 49 percent of their revenue come from holiday shopping.

Free shipping topped the report’s list of marketing promotions, particularly among companies with $100 million USD or more in revenue. 75 percent of those retailers plan to offer free shipping. Value-added promotions came in second, followed by repeat buyer discounts and online-only sales.

Repeat shoppers were once new shoppers, and keeping their loyalty from year to year separates successful online retailers from ones that vanish from the Net. WebTrends cites a figure from a Shop.org survey, where the number of new online shoppers in 2005 will be half of last year’s number.

Keeping those loyal customers will be difficult. That same survey contends more than half of consumers value price over brand names. Three-quarters of those surveyed don’t value loyalty programs at all.

Browse to buy figures are higher for repeat customers than for new ones. The industry considers a 3 percent conversion rate to be average. 70 percent of the surveyed merchants said their repeat buyers converted at a higher rate than that.

Online buyers should see quite a bit of upselling and cross-selling, as nearly 60 percent of respondents in the WebTrends survey listed “suggested items” as a revenue generator. A gift idea center and a featured sale items page followed in popularity.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Its August, Get Ready For Holiday Shopping
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