Shop.org starts on a positive note with positive holiday sales results

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Shop.org's FirstLook conference started tonight at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, FL, just down the road from Disney World.

As guests began to arrive, an invite-only eHoliday Mood Study was presented to retailers who participated in the survey given by shopping search engine Shopzilla down the hall from the main exhibit hall. Attendees included executives from Danskin, PETCO, Bare Essentials and American Eagle.

The study was presented by Beth Sterling, vice president of marketing at Shopzilla.com and Scott Silverman, executive director at Shop.org. The results were positive, finding that customer satisfaction grew from a healthy 96 percent to 98 percent. Consumers were also shopping earlier and taking advantage of promotions like free shipping, which makes sense, considering that 38 percent said that they spent more online this year, a staggering increase from 12 percent last year.

Consumers also embraced online and store sales together, with 82 percent doing some shopping online, which follows that 38 percent of people bought more online than last year, up from only 12 percent who answered the question the same way in 2005.

After the presentation I spoke with Jay Greenberg of Franklin Electronic Publishing, a electronics manufacturer in Burlington, NJ, who sells in major retail stores like Best Buy and Circuit City, as well as direct to consumer sales. He said that his sales were up 13 percent this year, and attributed some success to learning how to better use search.

"Our search engine marketing got smarter," he said. "We spent a lot on it, but we saw a huge ROI."

After the presentation most people made their way into the main exhibit hall where attendees were beginning to arrive.

I walked to floor and ran into familiar faces like e-Dialog executive Nancy Darish who is in town showing off its personalized e-mail marketing platform and talking about the recent opening of its New York office.

Yahoo was also exhibiting their search and shopping features, and I spoke with Diane Rinaldo, a contributor to the upcoming Essential Guide to Multichannel Retail that DM News is publishing on Feb. 12. She said that she looked forward to meeting people at the show and hearing more about retailers are getting involved in advocacy. During the reception people were happy to drop by the Yahoo booth, right next to the food table.

Meanwhile, HackerSafe drew my eye, as their display logo mirrored that of my hotel room key here at the Gaylord Palms, reading HACKERSAFE, a first for me on a hotel key. They are apparently one of the largest security systems on the Internet with clients like Sony, Home Depot, Paramount Pictures, Guitar Center and ShopNBC. I'll sleep safely tonight.

-Posted by Dianna Dilworth
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