From the Editor
By Ina Steiner
We are in the peak time of year for shopping and shipping, and this year's holiday sales are stronger than last year's. The National Retail Federation adjusted its forecast last week for total holiday shopping up one point to 3.3 percent over last year's sales due to positive economic indicators, and ComScore says this year's online holiday sales are up 12 percent over last year.
All those online orders have to be fulfilled - the U.S. Postal Service is expecting over 800 million pieces of mail to enter its system on Monday - 40 percent more than the average daily volume, and UPS is expecting to deliver 24 million packages on Wednesday, 60 percent more than normal daily delivery volumes.
An increasing number of holiday shoppers are using their mobile phones to compare prices and find store locations - and they are also becoming more comfortable hitting the buy button - an NRF survey found that of the people using smartphones to shop this holiday season, more than one-quarter of them (26%) have used the phone to make an actual purchase. And eBay expects to see $1.5 billion in sales through mobile shopping by the end of the year.
For those of you interested in making your websites mobile-friendly, today's issue features an interview with Jason Taylor, Vice President of Global Product Strategy at Usablenet, in "Five Things Merchants Should Know About Mobile Commerce."
Social commerce is another area online sellers are having to pay attention to - Time Magazine named Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg its Time person of the year. Today, our own Mark - Mark O'Neill, that is - brings us part two on his Facebook series, this one called, "I've Set Up My Facebook Fan Page - What Now?"
AuctionBytes Contributing Editor Greg Holden chatted with Ryan Jones about the ecommerce platform he cofounded, PrestoStore, designed to take the hassle out of creating and marketing your own online store. Bob Willey of Bob's Neat Books is today's EveryPlaceISell merchant, and we profile his site, learning how he got started selling online and the challenges he faces as a multi-channel seller. And Michele Alice brings us collecting advice on beads.
Christmas is next weekend, and I hope you get everything you want. But don't worry, if you get some gifts that aren't your cup of tea, you can sell them on - Amazon? That's right, Amazon released a video last week showing how consumers could use its marketplace to sell their unwanted gifts. It showed a grandmother listing a "tacky" leg lamp that her grandchildren had given her. She sold the lamp on Amazon.com and used the proceeds to get the gift she really wanted.
The video really struck me, as it was a page right out of eBay's marketing playbook from 2005. A discussion is taking place on the AuctionBytes blog about the merits of Amazon's campaign and about the viability of using Amazon to sell unique items.
We will be closing the nomination process for the Seller's Choice Awards this week, so if you haven't yet voted for your favorite marketplaces to be included in next month's Seller's Choice survey, do it now! We've received over 3,000 nominations, and while the top spots are locked in, there are a few marketplaces vying for inclusion. Voting for the actual awards will open in early January.
On behalf of David and myself, I'd like to thank the support of our advertisers and welcome some new names along with some familiar services to the lineup in 2011. Advertising is an opportunity for readers to learn about services that can help them sell more efficiently and effectively, and advertisements in AuctionBytes allow us to continue to bring you free content along with features such as the EveryPlaceISell.com merchant directory.
I look forward to continuing to help keep you informed in the New Year through our two email newsletters, the AuctionBytes Blog, podcast interviews and video reports, Twitter feed, RSS feeds, and through Facebook (please like us to show your support). And thank you to readers who take the time to send news tips and letters to help us understand how industry changes affect you.
Here's hoping you have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, from the team at AuctionBytes. Merry Christmas, enjoy the holidays, and 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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