Online Sales on the Rise
Our cover story this month tells the tale of how Sears Holdings Corp. is putting lots of energy into its Web site, Sears.com.
Sears Holdings Corp. no doubt is feeling the sting of the economy -- Interim CEO and President W. Bruce Johnson said in a Feb. 28 earnings note that the company's fourth-quarter and full-year results were negatively impacted by the worsening economic conditions faced by both its customers and competitors. But it understands that the Web is the place to be right now.
After all, online sales are on the rise. According to The State of Retailing Online 2008, a Shop.org study conducted by Forrester Research and published in April, online retail sales, excluding travel, will rise 17 percent this year to $204 billion -- despite the fact that retail industry sales are expected to experience sluggish growth overall.
Why are online sales growing? For a variety of reasons, experts say. For one, because of the pervasiveness of the Internet, two groups of consumers are shopping online now: one looking for the best price and another who appreciates the convenience of shopping online but isn't necessarily looking for the best deal.
As all of you e-tailers and e-marketers probably already know, it would be wise to put more energies into your Web sites this year and beyond; after all, that's where most people are shopping.
This issue of eM+C is chockablock full of tips to help you become better e-tailers and e-marketers. Here are three of my favorites:
- "Marketers can lower the barrier to entry for social media marketing by taking advantage of existing online communities focused on their businesses or industries. Rather than undertaking the creation of their own online communities and social media tools for their existing customers - which can be a significant drain both on time and money - advertising with existing social media sites both lowers costs and allows marketers to reach out to new customer bases." - George Krautzel, Page 31
- "At every possible turn, remember to make your brand experience enjoyable ... Be friendly. Be fun. Be interesting. Be unique. Be yourself." - Chad Ciesil, Page 25
- "Give customers the transactional information they need and expect from your e-mail, but don't shy away from including corporate branding and promotional messaging in there, as well." - Eric Presbrey, Page 50