From the Editor
By Ina Steiner
Tis the season,... Thanksgiving holiday is on Thursday (for those of us in the U.S.), leading into the busiest shopping season of the year. And according to a Harris Interactive survey conducted for Yahoo Small Business, shoppers will be buying online from small retailers.
Eighty-three percent of holiday shoppers surveyed said they would shop for holiday gifts online. A similar number (80 percent) said they are likely to purchase gifts online from small businesses. Those surveyed stated that the key reasons they would shop for holiday gifts online with small businesses are:
Ability to shop anytime (day or night) 75%
Avoiding crowded parking lots and long lines at malls and shopping centers 68%
Better selection of unique, hard to find gifts 60%
Easier to find personalized, distinctive gifts 53%
Convenience in having gifts shipped to out-of-town friends and family 40%
Past experience - reliable service in previous online holiday shopping 40%
Better value, low prices 36%
Frank Barnako had an interesting column about sites that reveal "Black Friday" sales. Black Friday, of course, is the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S., when retailers kick off the holiday hype with incredible sales. You can read the article at (http://digbig.com/4fhys). If you're brave enough to hit the malls on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, you may be able to pick up some bargains for resale, although retailers typically limit the number of items you can purchase.
Last year, the busiest shopping day for online retailers was Thanksgiving day, according to Hitwise, an online competitive intelligence service (http://auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y04/m12/i29/s03). The company said visits to eBay last year peaked on November 10, compared to December 9 for Dell and December 11 for Amazon.
Mark O'Neill gets into the holiday spirit in today's column, discussing the strategy of offering gift-wrapping services to online customers.
Last week, PayPal announced that merchants who accept PayPal can now offer online gift certificates to their customers (http://auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y05/m11/i15/s02). Some people don't like the idea of gift certificates as presents, but I personally enjoy them. And now it's easier for online sellers to offer gift certificates to their customers, if you accept PayPal. (If someone is familiar with other such services, please let me know.) Imagine if you want to buy a friend a comic book to add to her collection, but you're not sure which ones she has - a gift certificate to a comic-book seller's storefront or website would likely be appreciated.
I noticed that Janelle Elms (User ID jill.of.all.trades), a guru on eBay education, has started to use this feature on her eBay Store. There's nothing like seeing an example to understand how something works - go to her site at (http://www.JanelleElms.com) and you'll see a link to "Buy a Gift Certificate." This takes you to a PayPal order page, where you will see a link, "View Sample Gift Certificate." The sample shows you what customers will see when they order a certificate.
There was much talk this week of Google Base, a new offering that may compete with eBay and classifieds website, see my article in today's issue.
If you are using the eBay UK website and have been having problems, please post a note in this forum thread, thanks: (http://digbig.com/4fjba).
The latest AuctionBytes News in Review program from November 9th is online at http://www.auctionbytes.tv.
David and I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving and a prosperous holiday sales season. Thanks for reading.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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