Google’s Christmas shopping tips for retailers

Grace Robinson
24 November, 2011
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Google today has released data on consumer shopping trends in a bid to help retailers make the most of the upcoming Christmas season.

Based on search traffic patterns from previous Christmases, the next five weeks of shopping-related search traffic is expected to increase significantly as Australians finish up their online Christmas research and make their way to shops or placing orders online.

In previous years, searches for ‘Christmas’ based queries have accelereated from the third or fourth week of November. To date, these searches are up year over year in all major retail categories, including; mass merchant retailers (searches up by 47 percent), food and drink (with an increase of 31 percent), and toys (28 percent).

Google also pointed to some key dates during the holiday period:
December 4 – shipping windows for international online retailers traditionally close and searches for domestic online retailers rise

December 11 – searches for store names plus ‘trading hours’ or ‘location’ begin to rise dramatically. Last year, searches for trading hours grew nearly 250% in the last two weeks before Christmas. This year, such searches are already up 37% year over year and mobile has proven key: over a third of these searches now comes from a mobile device

December 16 – searches spike for ‘store name’ plus ‘hours’ and ‘location’ on the last day Australia’s online retailers can guarantee delivery before December 25 and the last in-store retail weekend before Christmas

Google advises retailers to budget advertising spend in the lead up to Christmas, to ensure their business is ready for traffic increases and can cater to the demand.

“Businesses need to take a strategic and long term approach to their online Christmas campaign,” said Ross McDonald, Head of Retail, Google Australia.

“Last year, we saw some major retail advertisers miss 80 percent of their potential search traffic because their daily ad budgets were the same as the middle of the year. That’s like forgetting to put your most popular product out on shelves during the busiest season of the year,” McDonald adds.

Google also advises retailers to plan when and where potential customers will be searching for presents that relate to their business. This requires companies of all sizes in any category of goods to be flexible with their online advertising budget and shift it to other locations on key dates, for ongoing, maximum coverage.

Finally, Google recommends that businesses should be mobile-ready, with websites that can be accessed and supported via a mobile device and display important store infortmation, like trading hours, promotions and locations.

Google points to the research findings that reveal Christmas as shoppers start using their smartphones to search for physical stores. Over 30 percent of these types of searches from mobile, and Google predicts the number to rise during the last 14 days before December 25.

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