Consumers benefit from frenzy of around-the-clock online shopping
All signals point to consumers being in the driver seat this holiday season. Web-based promotions over Thanksgiving week offered anywhere from 30 to 70 percent off products and included free shipping as well. What's different this year is how early the season started, and the intensity of promotional activity fueled by social marketing.
“Many retailers started promoting earlier this year with pre-season promotions such as one- or two-day only sales to stimulate impulse purchases,” said Fiona Dias, executive vice president of partner strategy and marketing for GSI Commerce Inc, a leading provider of e-commerce and multichannel solutions. “During Thanksgiving week, it was a consumer bonanza with free shipping site-wide, deep discounts, free gifts with purchase, door-busters, and a host of promotions that drove retailers' businesses and delighted customers.”
A survey, conducted in early November by Harris Interactive on behalf of GSI, concluded that convenience would be a key factor in driving people to shop online. Among respondents (U.S. adults, ages 18+ who plan to shop online this holiday season), 61 percent selected “avoiding crowds and lines” and 58 percent chose “being able to shop after-hours, when traditional offline stores are closed” as the top reasons for shopping online.
“We're doing all we can to make it convenient for our customers to shop for this holiday season,” said George Hitler of Bath and Body Works. “Special online-only promotions let us reach consumers who lead hectic lives, and appreciate the convenience of shopping when they have time – even if that's at midnight.” Bath and Body Works (www.bathandbodyworks.com) leveraged GSI's corporate sales team to launch a gift program targeting corporations. Additionally, Bath and Body Works added social networking to their marketing efforts by offering their first online friends and family promotion.
To attract new customers to its clients' brands, GSI spearheaded an aggressive and innovative social marketing program dubbed “viral marketing booster.” Employees of GSI, as well as its clients and vendors, passed offers to their friends and family, using social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Digg and Twitter and then posted the offers throughout the internet on sites such as BFads.net, blackfriday.info, and dealnews.com.
“Online retailers pulled out all the stops, with virtually every one of our clients offering ballistic Cyber-Monday sales, signifying how important the online shopping channel have become to so many Americans,” said Dias. “Even 'Cyber Monday' has changed this year. Online sales, historically only offered on Cyber Monday, started one day earlier and are rapidly being extended into 'Cyber-week' promotions. GSI is able to spread the word quickly about these new and expanded offers to a very large network of consumers.”
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This Online Holiday Shopping survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of GSI Commerce Solutions between October 31 and November 4, 2008 among 2,256 adults ages 18+ of whom, 1,867 plan to shop online this holiday season.
GSI Commerce Inc