Where Your Retail Business Spend its Advertising Dollars This Holiday Season

The air is getting colder, the Christmas decorations are coming out, and it’s time for your online retail business to start gearing up for the holiday season. With the holiday sales forecasted to grow at the slowest pace in 6 years, many retailers are re-budgeting their marketing expenses to make sure they don’t fall below the line. This blink 2.2% expected growth from last year has all retailers on and off line worried. If you think pouring more money into your search engine accounts will be the quickest, easiest cost-effective method, think again.

Neilsen Co.’s online division recently reported that less that 10% of online retailer’s traffic comes from search engines. Instead, the majority of online retailers’ traffic comes from a consumer going directly to it from the browser address bar.

In fact, Ken Cassar, VP of Industry Insights at Nielson’s Online division, reported that only 3 of the top 50 search terms were actual brand names and those 3 search terms were pornographic. This indicates that people already know where they want to go and aren’t wasting time ‘shopping around’.

It is tempting for retailers to put a large amount of money into search engines because everything online is quantifiable. Seeing exacting how your dollars are working for you is an enormous benefit of the internet. But with this trend, analyze your business position first before you make any moves.

Brand image is important if your business is going to be found online. If you are investing in search engines, make sure you have an internet presence in the first place. Chris Paradysz, CEO and founder of PM Digital, stated “You have to have the brand presence because if you don’t, you don’t benefit from the paid search”.

So if you aren’t going to put your money into search engines, where should it go? Off-line channels are often neglected or completely forgotten during this online growing phase. Traditional media channels still have a lot of driving power to websites and should not be overlooked just because they cannot be tracked. No matter your business, be careful where you invest your additional holiday advertising. With such an expected slow growth this season; businesses can easily miss their mark because of a simple misjudgment.

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