From the Editor
By Ina Steiner
The biggest holiday-shopping days are upon us, with Black Friday just days away. Brick-and-mortar retailers in the U.S. traditionally run big sales the day after Thanksgiving, and according to a preliminary survey conducted for the National Retail Federation by BIGresearch, up to 138 million people plan to shop this Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
Online retailers aren't counting on one-day or one weekend for holiday sales. They're running Black Friday sales all week, beginning Monday, and many are also following up with Cyber Monday sales next week (November 29).
But the biggest shopping days for online retailers are actually in December. According to ComScore, last year's biggest holiday online spending day was Tuesday, December 15, which was also the first day to surpass the $900 million threshold. That translates into December 14 this year - just 3 weeks from Tuesday.
Retailers are urging shoppers to follow them on Twitter and Facebook to receive alerts of special sales, and are also trying to entice them with offers of free shipping. According to a survey conducted by Stamps.com, free shipping is the most effective sales promotion during the holiday shopping season. Agree or disagree, you can read more about the survey results in this AuctionBytes Newsflash article.
Speaking of shipping, Greg Holden consulted with buyers, sellers and vendors and has put together ten holiday shipping tips to help you cope with your holiday orders. Also in today's issue, Scott Smigler returns with Part 2 of his series on Yahoo Stores, and includes some strategic tips that will be useful for sellers no matter which platform on which they sell.
In today's EveryPlaceISell merchant profile, Jim and Susan Robison share their story of moving from a mail order catalog business to a multi-channel online business. Finding your product niche is important for any online business, but you also need to differentiate yourself from other sites. Read how Jim and Susan were able to do this on their site, DollsandLace.com.
I continue to get questions about the new IRS reporting requirements. If you accept credit cards, debit cards, and electronic payments in your business, the financial institution or organization processing your transactions must report the gross amount of the payments to the IRS, but only if gross amounts for the year exceed $20,000 and there are more than 200 transactions, beginning in tax year 2011.
We've had an overwhelming response to our call for nominations for the 2nd annual "Sellers Choice" Marketplace Ratings survey. Nearly 2,500 sellers have already nominated their top marketplaces. Only 16 marketplaces will make it into the final runoff in January when sellers will rate online marketplaces in five areas - Profitability, Customer Service, Communication, Ease of Use - and whether or not they would recommend the venue to other sellers. Keep the nominations coming by visiting our online poll.
Thanks for reading, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.
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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