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The retail season starts early this year thanks to ecommerce

October 14, 2014

Conducting research online is increasingly becoming a trend among shoppers. People go online, often with their smartphones, and look up products, reviews, prices and discounts.

Typically, retail stores prepare for the holiday season in the beginning of fall and this year shoppers are too. According to a recent study by Google and Ipsos MediaCT, 26 percent of consumers have already started their holiday shopping research.

Conducting research online is increasingly becoming a trend among shoppers. People go online, often with their smartphones, and look up products, reviews, prices and discounts.

Google retail experts presented findings of their study, which predict that 2014 holiday shopping will be characterized by preliminary research and ecommerce. Black Friday, which was once a one-day event, is accordingly becoming a month-long buying window.  

Google research was similar to the conclusions of a study by Marin Software on retailer Facebook advertising. Marking Land reported on the study and highlighted that advertisers start their campaigns in early November.

Julie Krueger, industry director of retail for Google, explained that retail shopping is not contained to stores anymore.

“So much happens outside the store. Consumers are more informed and shopping ahead of time,” Krueger said, reported Business News Daily. 

Highest in-store sales correlated with mobile product searches
Krueger also commented that one-third of Google shopping searches happen after 10 p.m. Interestingly, Google data was able to correlate that in the 2013 holiday season, the biggest in-store sales coincided on days when mobile searches were at their highest levels. Consumers use their phones before they go to stores and according to to the research, 75 percent use their phone in the store as well.

“They’d rather use their phone than talk to an associate [to get product information],” said Kruger.

Part of the preparing that retail companies engage in involves making informational video content about their products. A Google customer survey showed that 25 percent of shoppers have used YouTube to search for videos about products they are interested in, according to Business News daily.

“Visits are precious, but if you haven’t prepped [consumers] online [beforehand], you’ve lost the sale,” Kruger added. 

According to Lisa Green, Google’s head of industry for luxury and fashion, how-to content, product reviews and branded content attracted the most views. Products that were associated with particular celebrities like Martha Stewart and YouTube celebrity Elle Walker did very well. 

This year will certainly serve to educate retail companies on how consumer behavior and shopping preferences are shifting for the future.

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