Online Retailers Starting Holiday Marketing Earlier This Year

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BizRate found that multichannel retailers are starting holiday marketing earlier this year as per its " 2006 eHoliday Mood Survey" conducted for Shopzilla and Shop.org.

Los Angeles-based BizRate found that 38.5 percent of multichannel retailers said they would start their holiday marketing earlier this year than last. Sixty-two percent said they will begin promotions by Nov. 4.

This trend is in proportion to consumer preferences: one in five online shoppers plan to shop for holiday gifts earlier this year and 34.9 percent will start shopping by Halloween.

An increasing number of online retailers will offer shipping promotions this year including free shipping with or without conditions and discounted shipping. Two years ago, only 64 percent of online retailers offered free shipping with conditions, while this year 83 percent of retailers will be offering the promotion.

Again, retailers are onboard with customers here as three-fourths of shoppers said that free shipping offers are one of the most important factors when they decide where to buy online.

Additionally, many retailers will be adding early shopper and first-time buyer discounts this year.

To bring customers to their Web sites, multichannel retailers will be planning a variety of online and offline marketing strategies for the holidays. Ninety seven percent will be investing in search engine marketing and comparison-shopping engines.

Retailers are also using more unconventional online marketing strategies with 41 percent of retailers incorporating blogs or RSS feeds and 81 percent of retailers using viral marketing.

The survey also found that companies are extremely optimistic about holiday sales, with one in five online retailers expecting to experience growth of 75 percent or more over last year.

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