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Holiday Shopping Alert: Online Consumers Spending More Money But Less Time

A study released by IBM Coremetrics entitled “4th Annual Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report” highlights some interesting shifts in consumer behavior in the online space. To sum it up quickly, people are spending more than ever online. Average order value was up an average of 10% across several points during the holiday season including Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Reasons for this upward tick is that people have become more trusting of online retailers, they hate shopping in crowds (my personal favorite), they are saving the expense of driving etc that goes with shopping in a brick and mortar etc. There are any number of highly personal reasons for this to happen.

While the average order value being up over time is good news in the online space there are some interesting shifts in consumer behavior that are signals to marketers to quite simply, get their stuff in order. The following chart gives some findings as to which online channels are performing and just how that is happening.

The good news is that social converts. The bad news is that it also alienates. With a bounce rate of more than double the other channels this tells marketers that you better have the right message in the right place at the right time to hold the social users attention. Even then the following charts make it even more apparent that the window of time that online marketers have to get someone’s attention is practically slamming shut.

Consumers are not going too deep into sites because they feel that if they don’t get what they need when they first get to a site they are not necessarily willing to stick around to dig through a site to find it. This places an extreme importance of bringing people to the right page within a site so that you can answer their need immediately, whether it’s a specifically created landing page or a well-crafted interior page that satisfies their need.

As a result, bounce rates have bounced up considerably.

With the 2011 holiday season right around the corner some would say it may be too late to be preparing for these elements. With regard to SEO, that is likely to be correct. Paid search, however, and social are much more fluid and have the chance to impact a business even if the planning and execution period is tight.

So are you ready for the holiday season for your online efforts? Are you prepared in a way that will satisfy the fickle whims of the online space whose attention span continues to grow shorter and shorter?

These are difficult criteria to work with no matter how skilled an online marketer you are. No one wants to hear an excuse like “Well, they just don’t pay attention like they used to!” for poor online retail performance. In this economy, people are sick of excuses in general. So what are you doing to keep yourself out of this kind of conversation?

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