Retailers prepare for the holiday season for a good reason: it nets them 30 percent or more of total sales for the year, which is why having an online store that takes advantage of this important shopping period is essential to growing your business.
When it comes to tracking these shopping trends, ecommerce merchants use the Pulse Index provided by Chase Paymentech, a leading company in the field of online payment processing and merchant acquisition. The Pulse Index measures payment processing for the top 50 U.S. online retailers to show the overall growth of ecommerce throughout the year.
So far, online sales have been great for 2011 as both the Pulse Index and the U.S. Department of Commerce have shown that ecommerce remains strong, with online sales growing more than 17 percent during the first two quarters of the year. This growth is expected to continue throughout the holiday season, as online merchants prepare by promoting great deals that will encourage consumers to partake in important shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
While Black Friday has long been considered to be an important shopping day for brick and mortar retailers, Cyber Monday has become considerably more relevant to online stores since its inception in 2005, as the Pulse Index has shown that recently, Cyber Monday has surpassed all other shopping days by a small margin.
Cyber Mondays growing importance largely revolves around improvements in Internet access and the way online stores do business. Broadband services, for instance, are much more common in households throughout the U.S., and the explosive popularity of smartphones have made it possible for consumers to shop online anywhere.
Online store owners also have many more options to choose from since the birth of ecommerce in the 1990s, as they have access to a variety of services from shopping cart software providers to order fulfillment companies that will handle all their ordering and shipping needs while they build online store presence through advertising and Search Engine Optimization.
In addition, ecommerce merchants have several advantages over brick and mortar establishments. For example, they have less overhead because they can store their merchandise in less expensive locations and are able to higher fewer personnel. Also, they take advantage of the convenience that the Internet provides, as many shoppers love how they can get their holiday wish lists filled without leaving their homes.
The growing demand for digital products has also contributed to the success of ecommerce, as many of the hottest items predicted for 2011 are electronic devices such as Apples iPad and iPhone4S, as well as gaming consoles, software and HDTVs. Online companies that sell a variety of products, such as Amazon.com, do especially well because they can function as a one-stop shop for their customers.
With these facts in mind, there is no reason why an aspiring online merchant should miss out on next years holiday shopping season, which is why the need to build online store presence through social networking, Search Engine Optimization, web advertisements and email campaigns will enable your ecommerce establishment to receive the visibility it deserves.
Brandi Tolleson writes prolifically for various technology and ecommerce blogs.