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Retailers Increasing Paid Search Ads Ahead Of Black Friday
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U.S. paid search spend from retailers has increased nearly 37 percent ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, compared to last year, according to a new report from SearchIgnite.

The increase in retailers’ online PPC spend appears to be paying off as the economy bounces back from the recession; the rate at which consumers converted after clicking on a paid search advertisement was up 28.7% and their Average Order Values from online shopping were up 20.7% YoY.

Google Launches Resource to Prepare Retailers for Holidays

Google has launched a new site called "ThinkHoliday", which counts down the days until Christmas, and provides information for businesses and marketers that will help them prepare for the holidays. According to the site, 71% of consumers have started researching their holiday purchases, and 89% of them have started shopping online.

Google Calls Upon Retailers to List Inventory
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Google announced today that it is making public its help documentation for Local Shopping inventory for Google Merchant Center. This is a feature that allows retailers to let consumers know about what they have in stock right from the web. 

What Coupon Searchers are Looking For

Retailers generated nearly $31 million in online coupon sales through RetailMeNot.com in May, according to the site. That’s over a 42% increase compared to the same time last year, and that’s just through RetailMeNot.

The company has released a report looking at coupon usage and search behavior in the month of May. RetailMeNot says it’s in a unique position to track trends in the coupon industry, as it is the most highly trafficked coupon site and the only site with over 450,000 coupons for both online and in-store offers.

AOL and Mediabrands Partner on Retail Advertising

AOL and Interpublic Group’s Mediabrands (one of the largest buyers of retail advertising in the U.S. ) have announced a digital retail advertising partnership. The two companies plan to align their collective resources and announce a Retail Advisory Board in the coming weeks.

Google Shares Top Retail Searches for the Holiday Season
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Google has shared the top retail searches for the 2009 holiday season. These results are based on the company’s Insights for Search tool.

"Using Google Insights for Search, we can see that the hottest toys over the last seven days include stalwarts like Pikachu and Legos, as well as newcomers, such as the Nerf Marshmellow Shooter and the surprise hit of the holiday season, a blanket-with-sleeves known as the Snuggie," says Eric Lopez of the Google Retail Team.

Traffic and Time Spent on Black Friday Sites Increase Rapidly

New research from Nielsen finds that during the last weeks of October and the early weeks of November, the number of unique visitors to the top websites offering previews of Black Friday deals (like bfads.net for example), has been increasing rapidly. No surprise there.

Week-over-week, however, traffic to these sites has increased by as much as 87%, from 3.8 million unique visitors during the week ending November 8, to 7 million during the week ending November 15.

EBay Pressures Senate To Outlaw Minimum Pricing
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eBay, Burlington Coat Factory, and the US Federal Trade Commission are pressuring the US Senate to pass a law banning vertical price-fixing, effectively overturning a 2007 Supreme Court decision.

Manufacturers and retailers actually call it vertical “retail price management” (RPM). The practice entails setting a minimum price retailers can sell specific items for. Remember last Christmas, when you spent hours online comparative shopping only to find out everybody who carried it was selling it for exactly the same price?

Stop Making It Hard For People To Give You Their Money
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Sometimes one has to state the obvious: You’re in business to make money. You make money by convincing lots of people to give you some of their money. Success depends on making this process as painless as possible*.

But many online businesses may be making it too difficult for customers to hand over the cash, which is a bad business practice by any account.

Here’s what people (especially men) are used to:

Online Purchases Increase, But Not For Web-Only Sellers
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Overall, online shopping has not been adversely affected by the slow economy reports. But that good news isn’t extended to Web-only retailers, the majority of whom are experiencing flat or declining sales.

According to a survey by Forrester Research and Shop.org, online retail sales rose by an average of 11 percent in the first quarter of 2009 with the bulk of the increase benefiting consumer brand manufactures and multichannel retailers.

Drop in Email Marketing Performance Among British Retailers
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If there’s ever been a time when email marketers need to be on the ball with their communication, it’s right now. Consumers are harder to part from their cash and the competition for sales is hotter than ever. However, dotMailer’s annual benchmark study, “Hitting the Mark”, shows that the overall email marketing performance of the U.K.’s leading retailers is actually down on last year.

You Better Get Comfortable with eBay’s New Search
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eBay is 86ing its old search engine in favor of its newer one. Up until this point, users have been able to choose the one they prefer, but according to eBay the majority are using the new one, so you can kiss the old one goodbye.

Perceived Value Is Reality
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Closing the sale is a delicate and at times unpredictable process. Consumers have varying reasons to reject or accept an offer and often some incentive is necessary. But what kind of incentive is most effective and brings the most return for the retailer? A discount? A gift? Free shipping?

Consumers Asked To Avoid Online Shopping
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The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) has launched a campaign asking consumers to shop locally at brick-and-mortar stores instead of shopping online. Their reason: online retailers don’t collect sales taxes and don’t support local jobs and community organizations.

Online Retailers Cash In On Cyber Monday

While the economy boded poorly for brick-and-mortar stores over the holiday weekend leading up to Cyber Monday, Hitwise says business was pretty much booming for online-only retailers.

No Apologies From National Retail Federation
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Yesterday, we covered three bills in Congress championed by the National Retail Federation that would require online marketplaces to keep extensive records on merchants and, on behalf of the government, secretly investigate those suspected of selling stolen goods. Trying to shore up support, a representative for the NRF compared online merchants to drug addicts who could help but steal to support their eBay habit.

More Retailers Using Social Media
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An increasing number of retailers are turning to social media to target teens and young adults during the back to school shopping season according to JupiterResearch.

Retailers are trying out a number of Web 2.0 tools for their back to school marketing campaigns, including using virtual worlds, social networks, social shopping sites, visual search engines, video and widgets.

24 Ways to Get a Customer and Keep a Customer
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Let’s start with the bad news, and there’s kind of a lot of it, before we move on the good news of how to fix it. About three-quarters of online shoppers are unsatisfied with their online shopping experience. The other quarter are, flatly, satisfied, in that even bad pizza is good pizza kind of way.

Sort of anticlimactic, isn’t it? The good news is there’s a lot of opportunity for satisfying customers, even making them very, very happy.

Borders closes to Amazon

Bookselling chain decides competing with Amazon.com on book sales will be a better prospect than the now-ended partnership with the online retailing giant.

SMX West: Tasty Blend Of Search, Retail
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Universal search presents retailers an opportunity to reach searchers with more information than a few words of plain text.

Holiday Online Retail Cracked $29 Billion

Non-travel spending during the 2007 holidays reached $29.2 billion despite a slow start in November.