The holiday shopping season is already underway. Long gone is the time that holiday shopping kicked off the day after Thanksgiving. Retail shelves are already full of holiday offerings. What is amazing is that shopping carts are already full of holiday products.
I ventured into the local Walmart on Halloween fully expecting aisles full of families gathering that last bag of candy in preparation for evening festivities. I was truly shocked. The gardening section of the store had already been transformed into the North Pole, complete with fully decorated Christmas trees. I shrugged it off and finished my own last minute Halloween shopping. Flabbergasted was I, when it came time to check out. The family just ahead in line had a full cart, mostly of Christmas tree and trimmings. Being the inquisitive type I am, I asked the matriarch of the family if she thought it was too early for holiday shopping. I got an answer that may be the perspective of the whole country, “It is early, but we have the cash now. Who knows about December.”
So insert your favorite cliche here. Mine seems to be: “It is what it is.”
Are stores on the right track? Where does that leave e-commerce stores and comparison shopping engines? How will perceptions of the economy and family cash position effect calendar buying trends? Should the average e-commerce proprietor have products well positioned in shopping engines all year or concentrate efforts to just the traditional holiday shopping season?
E-Commerce stores who use comparison shopping engines (Google Products, NexTag, Pricegrabber, Shopzilla, etc.) are used to the annual holiday ramp up by these shopping engines. In years past, these engines provided a substantial amount of visitors during the holiday season. If shoppers are purchasing now, will that change the overall effectiveness of shopping engines?
I believe there is enough doubt in consumer trends this year to warrant concern over the traditional advertising model that places a ton more eggs in one holiday basket than the rest of the year.
With that in mind, savvy e-commerce stores should re-evaluate their use of comparison shopping engines. This does not mean NOT using them, but it is time to look at your products and simply list those that are good sellers or have a high margin. To save some budget, try cutting out your non-selling products or those which are not competitive at price point. Try listing your products in shopping portals that do not charge for clicks, like Google Product Search. Try listing your products in shopping engines that are not raising their rates for the holiday season, like Become.com. Lastly, but critically important, spend some dedicated time and energy optimizing your data feeds.
One thing is for certain… a person can’t buy your product if they don’t know it is there.
Another thing is for certain… the time to do all that was yesterday.
It may be that the economy has consumers thinking differently about this holiday season. It may be that Walmart is doing their part to rid Americans of the procrastination habit one holiday at a time. Whatever the case, people are shopping now. They are in the comparison shopping engines and in the search engines. If your products aren’t, well… GET MOVING! It’s November. Do you know where your products are?
I’d love some feedback from you. Let’s get the conversation started.
I’m Linda Bateman and I am here to help.