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Holiday shopping – crisis or opportunity?

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Tuesday November 25, 2008 )

There appears to be a bit of doom and gloom around again regarding holiday shopping forecasts for this year; but it doesn’t necessarily mean your business has to suffer – you can still thrive.

According to E-marketer, based on Q3 e-commerce data released from the US Department of Commerce, e-commerce sales increased just 4.6% in Q3 2008 compared with Q3 2007. E-commerce is still faring better than bricks and mortar based sales growth, but E-marketer projects 2008 will be the first year of single-digit sales growth of the decade.

It all sounds rather ominous, but it doesn’t have to be – after all it’s still growth.

Before contemplating this as a sky-is-falling crisis, bear in mind the Chinese pictogram for crisis consists of 2 elements – danger and opportunity.

When anything is plentiful, we get wasteful. We’re a bit like a poorly adjusted harvesting machine. While there’s plenty of wheat around, the harvest may seem ok, but we’re leaving wheat on the ground, or in case of e-commerce, money on the virtual table.

Some will panic this year and buy more in advertising or slash a little too much off profit margins, others will plug the leaky bucket, choosing to look internally at sites and offers to see what fine tuning can be done and strategies for reducing shopping cart abandonment.

Even in this very high tech world, sometimes it’s the simple stuff that can have the most positive effect. Here’s an example – a *well implemented* popup can boost your sales and subscribers by multiple times. It’s not a wild exaggeration, it really does work – I’ve done it time and again on sites covering different industries.

There’s only a few days to go before the holiday shopping season begins in earnest – but it’s still time enough to make adjustments that might help make those economic clouds show a silver lining; and the great thing is – most ideas won’t cost you a fortune.


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