Online sellers in the U.S. are upbeat about the coming holiday selling season, and they plan to use that cheery outlook in their holiday marketing, according to an Alibaba.com survey.
Of more than 1,200 e-merchants surveyed, 64 percent said they plan on employing products that center around an optimistic theme, and 60 percent said they will focus on products that are bright and cheerful. Of the survey sample, 70 percent had made a big change in their product lines in order to better tap into market trends and customer needs.
"Despite our global economic woes, this spirit of entrepreneurship is not flagging in the U.S.—which is good news for consumers and the market as a whole," says Linda Kozlowski, director of global marketing and customer experience at Alibaba.com.
Online merchants have reason to be optimistic. E-commerce market research firm comScore reported online sales grew 13 percent in the third quarter, compared to the same period last year. As more consumers head online to do their shopping, e-tailers have reason to anticipate a profitable selling season.
The survey results also show that 45 percent of e-tailers plan to market by word of mouth, and 42 percent will market through social media. Of the 61 percent who market with a Facebook fan page, up to 75 percent don't use any additional features, such as Facebook ads. Other strategies to promote products include email marketing (34 percent), online advertisements (33 percent) and coupons (14 percent). Forty percent of survey respondents said they don't yet use social media for their business marketing.
Less than 50 percent of those surveyed will offer discounts such as free or expedited shipping, price reductions and limited-time deals.
Alibaba.com is a global provider of e-commerce solutions for small businesses. The holiday e-tail survey was conducted in conjunction with Alibaba.com's U.S. subsidiaries, Auctiva and Vendio.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.