Brick-and-mortar retailers started the back-to-school push early this year, and now Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is suggesting online retailers should start doing the same thing for the holiday shopping season.
According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales make up as much as 40 percent of retailers' annual revenue. With the underwhelming back-to-school season that's still finishing up it could prove even more important this year.
The good news is that a Google consumer survey conducted in July found that almost every shopping demographic plans to do more of their purchasing for the holidays online (the exceptions were baby boomers and seniors 55+, but they probably weren't online retailers' primary audience anyway). The bad news is that since Thanksgiving rolls around late this year, the traditional shopping season will be about a week shorter.
All the more reason to take advantage of customers who are starting their search early this year, getting their research done and looking for the best deals. As many as 30 percent of the people surveyed by Google said they were planning to start their holiday shopping before Halloween.
Some retailers are already on top of this trend, with Google reporting that 6 out of 10 retailers started their holiday advertising before Halloween last year. Additionally, a quarter of shoppers bought from retailers they had never dealt with before in search of lower prices, indicating that those stores that don't get their deals out there early could end up late to the party.
And of course, once those customers drank the Kool-Aid they told their friends, and often came back themselves. So the lessons are twofold: small retailers, strike while the iron is hot and you could hit the new customer jackpot; large retailers, beat them to the punch or risk back-to-school-like doldrums come Christmas.
- See this eCommerceBytes story
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