Coming off a summer that saw significant online sales growth, several forecasters are dreaming about the upcoming holiday season. A careful look at the numbers suggests that there is reason for e-retailers to hope they will find better ecommerce sales this year. For one thing, sales were up. August saw online sales of full price merchandise rise 28 percent versus summer of the prior year, according to the MyBuys Ecommerce Wellness Index. The latest government data is also encouraging. The U.S. Census Bureau says August sales for nonstore retailers, of whom etailers are a subset, were up 10.5 percent from August 2009.
Looking ahead, ecommerce services company Bold Software polled its customers and found that 65 percent think holiday sales will rise in 2010. Stock analyst Colin Sebastian of Lazard Capital Markets says ecommerce sales will grow ten to 15 percent, and Kantar Retail, a research firm, forecasts ecommerce sales growth of six percent for the coming season.
But the holidays also help etailers who help themselves. According to Internet ecommerce blogger Mike Ewing, there are four things etailers can do to boost their holiday results: Write blog posts featuring your products, explaining why they are compelling gift choices. Create web pages with special offers or discounts on particular products that expire by a specific date. These can bring in search engine shoppers looking for deals. Email limited time coupons with holiday offers to your existing customers. Use social networking sites to push key products, using brand names. For example, retailers can search Twitter posts for products they sell, and then engage in tweet conversations with power users, offering discounts and reasons to shop.
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