To paraphrase an old adage, ‘tis the season to go shopping—and this year, ‘tis the season for shopping smart. Beginning en masse on Thanksgiving, when a significant number of major retailers opened their doors to allow bargain detectives to take advantage of early deals, people have been showing their shopping savvy, with no signs of stopping.

Using Insights for Search and research data from a Google/OTX study, we took a look at some trends we’re seeing from consumers in the U.S.—a new kind of shopper, the rise of mobile and a near-seamless online-to-store connection—and then satisfied our inner cool-seeker by taking a look at some of the most searched-for holiday gifts.

The new shopper
This year’s holiday shoppers are the smartest searchers in history. They’re searching for more specific terms and looking for more information than ever—from printable coupons to take into their local store, to the location of said stores; some people are even scanning barcodes to get more information about a product.

For example, searches for [black friday ads], [thanksgiving coupons], [black friday shipping code] and [buy one get one free] skyrocketed this year, as super-smart shoppers did their research before heading online or to the stores. They also made sure to get ahead of the Cyber Monday game: searches for things like [cyber monday deals] and [cyber monday sales] rose much quicker and earlier than last year.

Shoppers didn’t stop looking for information once Cyber Monday arrived: [best cyber monday deals 2010] was the second-fastest rising search in the U.S. yesterday. Other top searches related to Cyber Monday included:

Mobile matters

For years, we’ve heard that it’s “the year of mobile.” This year it’s actually true, and people are embracing access to information on the go. Anyone who has a smartphone has a personal assistant now—and in their pocket, no less! People are using their mobile phones to compare prices, look for store locations and inventory in stock locally, and find deals.

According to research we conducted with OTX, 52% of U.S. smartphone users plan to use their phone to compare prices during the holiday shopping season and 40% plan to use their phones to read product reviews. We’ve seen evidence of this trend through the increased use of Google Shopper, a mobile shopping app that helps shoppers on the go research items and find the best place to buy them—whether online or in a nearby store.

Online meets offline
This year, both consumers and retailers are thinking about shopping differently. Gone is the wall between online and offline research and purchasing; consumers think about online and offline behavior relatively seamlessly these days—and retailers do too. Retailers are integrating things like inventory data across channels so that people can find what they’re looking for easily, online and off. Search queries show this crystal clear connection between information-hunting online and purchasing offline.

Searches for [black friday store hours], [printable coupons], and specific store names and hours have risen dramatically in the last year, as consumers do their homework prior to leaving home to shop.

Hot holiday gifts

Each holiday shopping season brings with it a number of buzzworthy toys. While we can’t be sure which toys will be on that list this year, searches for a number of items have risen significantly in recent weeks and months.

Those looking for toys for all ages have recently looked for information related to [squinkies], [lalaloopsy], [educational toys] and [ereaders]; searches for all of the above have risen dramatically in the past 30 days, as have searches for classic toys such as [legos] and [cabbage patch kids].

For lovers of a different kind of gift, a royal engagement may have prompted a rush on sapphire rings; searches for the same have risen dramatically in the past 30 days.

If you’d like to learn more about this year’s holiday shopping season, including some tidbits on what retailers are thinking, check out the ThinkHoliday site for useful information.

In the meantime, happy (smart) shopping—and we hope you had a fruitful Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

- Posted by Dan Schock, Google Retail Industry Director

We’ve all been there--navigating a site, filling up our shopping cart with holiday presents, clicking “checkout” in excitement, and then it hits us--a big shipping fee. Suddenly, Grandpa’s new slippers don’t seem like such a bargain. For some, the hassle of paying to get their holiday goodies shipped makes braving the lines at retailers worth it. This holiday season is no different, and the interest for free shipping among shoppers heats up every year on Google search.

Consumer interest for free shipping has been increasing for the past few years, as shown in the above graph from Insights for Search. These searches begin to rise in the fall, with interest peaking on the 19th of December. The uptick in the past few years in search of free shipping could be related to the increased popularity of online shopping coupled with smaller amounts of discretionary income for many consumers as a result of the recession.

Different online retailers have tried to combat the shipping stigma with various programs and promotions. Amazon Prime, which has members pay a $79 annual fee, allows for free 2 day shipping on anything they buy from the retailer. recently announced free shipping on over 60,000 products through Dec. 20th. There is also Free Shipping Day on December 17th, which boasts over 1,000 retailers promising free shipping in time for Christmas on this date.

In the past, consumers have been used to seeing free shipping for amounts ranging from $50 to $100 dollars, but the aforementioned promotions are charting relatively new territory by giving no minimum spends for free shipping. It remains to be seen if this new focus on free shipping will become an annual holiday trend or, eventually, an industry norm for all online retailers. Either way, consumers this holiday season will benefit as more retailers fight to keep consumer’s dollars in the digital shopping cart.

In our latest Google/Ipsos OTX research from September 2010, we learned that almost 9 out of 10 consumers will research online during their holiday shopping. Consumers are using online in their purchase process in a variety of ways. They might do research online, go to a store, research products more on their mobile phone in the store, then go back home and buy online. Over 40% of consumers plan to research online and buy online, and an even bigger group, plan to research online then buy in a store.

There is no such thing as an “online shopper” anymore or an offline vs. online marketing strategy. In consumers' minds, all channels are created equal, and the same shopper buys online and in-store. Make sure you are getting your holiday messages to consumers where they’re doing their research: online!

Consider the Canadian market when you plan for the holiday season:
• Canada’s population is roughly the size of California
• 86% of Canadians speak English, 31% speak French and 18% are fluent in both languages
• We have a Prime Minister, a Queen and more donut shops per capita than anywhere else in the world!

Posted by the Google Canada Retail Team

Tis officially the season! With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, to be followed immediately by Black Friday, the traditional kick-off to the holiday shopping season is here and it should be a great one for savvy shoppers and retailers alike. But it’s not about one day standing-in-line-for-deals anymore. It’s a full five-day “Black-Cyber Weekend” of shopping deals and buying sprees.

The term “Black Friday” has come to be synonymous with retail pricing deals (fun side note: the term “Black Friday” was first used in Philadelphia by police officers, as a descriptor for the intense traffic which occurred on the big shopping day after Thanksgiving) and now extends beyond the single day after Thanksgiving. Beginning on Thursday -- Thanksgiving Day -- and continuing through the following (Cyber) Monday, retailers now offer shoppers incredible pricing deals and shopping steals around the clock for five straight days. In fact, retailers have now co-opted the term “Black Friday” for Summer sales events, as witnessed by Google Search queries this past July:

Also, look at how queries stay at a peak throughout the holiday weekend -- now starting on Thanksgiving Day -- for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, coupons, shopping deals and more…

The great news for retailers this week? It’s not too late to ensure that your online campaigns are ready for the “Black Friday - Cyber Monday” rush and beyond. Here are some pointers to keep in mind:

Keep Your Budgets Open Starting On Thanksgiving Day. Google queries related to shopping are going to start increasing on Thanksgiving Day this year. Make sure your Search plans are ready to handle the volume and convert those queries to sales. All day.

Think beyond Black Friday. Make sure you’re ready for shoppers looking for deals beyond Black Friday--tout your specials and deals from Thursday through Monday. As people get back to the office on Monday and look to buy the gifts they couldn’t snag over the weekend, make sure you’re offering new incentives to drive them to purchase from you.

Remember that Mobile matters. Today’s research cycle doesn’t stop when shoppers leave their homes. People are searching, using Google Shopper and Near me Now to comparison shop and find what they are looking for while on the go. Make sure your online campaigns are opted in to show on mobile devices, and that your mobile website is ready for prime time.

Make the Online to Store connection seamless. Shoppers don’t make the same distinction between online shopping and in-store shopping that existed 10 years ago -- so make sure that you are encouraging shoppers on your website to visit your store, and shoppers in your store to visit your website. The multi-channel connection is relatively seamless and you need to be sure that your message and incentives are consistent across channels, and that shoppers can find what they’re looking for when they’re looking for it.

Buckle Up and get ready to start the Holiday Shopping season in full this week! But make sure to spend time with family and friends this holiday season. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and Super-Cyber-Black- Friday- Holiday- Monday- Weekend!

Holiday 2010: eReader fever is sweeping the nation… again. With Kindle securing the title of “most gifted item” in Amazon’s history during holiday 2009, it’s no surprise that eReaders are topping wish lists again this year. As we head into the holiday season, eReaders are ever more appealing - whether you’re planning to give or hoping to receive. New features, lower price points and vibrant color screens are just some of the things enticing shoppers to spring for their first eReader. Or maybe even an upgrade.

While device enhancements and competitive pricing may be piquing the interest of consumers, consider consumer interest far from peaked. A look at search trends shows that searches for eReader devices are growing at an astounding rate. The combination of new device launches and holiday popularity has truly propelled the category upward. “What kind of growth are we talking?” you ask. The simple answer: nearly 150% year over year. To put that in context, eReaders searches are greater now than they were the week before Christmas 2009.

The below graph shows the scale at which eReaders queries have grown since the original Kindle launched in 2007. As the holidays approach and new models are announced, curious consumers increasingly turn to Google to research these devices.

Exactly three years after the release of the original Kindle, the question plaguing consumers isn’t necessarily “Should I buy an eReader?” but “Which eReader should I buy?” A recent study conducted by Google and OTX reveals that 70% of eReader shoppers are uncertain about which brand of eReader they are going to purchase. Now, more than ever, consumers are turning to ratings and reviews to help guide their decisions. Looking at Google Insights for Search, we can see how the influx of new models has had an impact on shopping behavior. Search terms such as “eReader reviews” and “best eReader” are on the rise.

New models of eReaders are creating consumer excitement, awareness and curiosity. Consumers are searching to learn more about reviews, product features and user experiences. This type of consumer engagement is what drives the “top holiday gifts” to the top. So, with so many options, which eReader will you choose this holiday season?

The way we shop for fashion is different from how we buy cameras—especially online. With fashion, reviews and specs are less important; fashion shopping is about discovering something that fits your taste and feels right. The web works well for buying cameras and other hard goods but for soft goods, such as clothing and accessories, it’s not the same as shopping in a store.

What’s more, the market for soft goods online is growing tremendously. A year and half ago, our team (which at the time was part of started to wonder if we could create a better experience for people to shop online. Our team consists of PhDs in computer science with an emphasis on machine learning and computer vision, along with fashion designers and stylists—we jokingly called ourselves the computer nerds and fashion nerds (and a few of us were both). So, we set out to create a new way to browse, discover and shop for soft goods online.

Today, we’re excited to share with you our first step towards realizing this goal. It’s called a personalized shopping experience that lets you find and discover fashion goods, by creating your own curated boutique or through a collection of boutiques curated by taste-makers—celebrities, stylists, designers and fashion bloggers. Boutiques uses computer vision and machine learning technology to visually analyze your taste and match it to items you would like.

In fashion, there are lots of choices. If there are, say, 500,000 items in a store, that means there are literally billions of different combinations of outfits you can make with those items. How do you sort through all of this? This site had to be a collaboration.

First we partnered with taste-makers of all types. We asked them not just to curate 10-50 great items they loved, but also to teach our site their style and taste. They did this by telling us what colors, patterns, brands and silhouettes they loved and they hated. They took a visual quiz that taught the site to understand their style genre: Classic, Boho, Edgy, etc. Our machine learning algorithms use this information to enable you to shop all of the inventory in the style of that taste-maker, on top of the 50 items they’ve hand-curated.

These days, bloggers, stylists and everyday fashionistas are expressing their sense of style online. We invited them to create boutiques so people could shop their diverse styles. But you have a unique and independent style too, so Boutiques also lets you build your own personalized boutique and get recommendations of products that match your taste.

In addition to all this, Boutiques offers a variety of features to search and discover merchandise including:

Advanced search filters - Filter by genre, silhouette, pattern, color families and sizes.

Inspiration photos - Try a search for [yellow pumps] and you’ll see matching outfit ideas to the right of the search results. We feature images from streetstyle sites, and collage and styling sites to provide you with the online equivalent of styled mannequins to give you inspiration.

Complete the Look - Ever wonder what to pair with that dress? Our fashion designers wrote hundreds of style rules—like “heavily patterned handbags don’t tend to go with heavily patterned dresses”—that we used to develop a tool to suggest items that match.

Visual search - Sometimes you love an item but not in a particular color. We analyze the photograph of an item for its color, shape and pattern and try to help you find visually similar items.

Boutiques on your tablet - Download our iPad application, lean back and move through inventory as if you were flipping through clothes on a rack at the store.

You can start shopping now at At this time, Boutiques is only available in the U.S. and only for women’s fashion, but we plan to expand in the future. Tell us what you think on our feedback form. And if you’re a designer, stylist, celebrity or retailer and want to participate on, drop us a line.

Cross-posted from Official Google Blog: Munjal Shah, Product Management Director

In recent years, shoppers have been conditioned to look for deals when shopping. We've asked consumers three years in a row about what promotions and offers they want for holiday, and it hasn’t changed much over time. Consumers are focused on sales, discounts and free shipping. And as consumers are more focused on immediate gratification rebates have decreased in importance.

Source: Google/Ipsos OTX Consumer Holiday Shopping Intentions Study, September 2010

This is reinforced by what we see people searching for. Searches for 'printable coupons' are currently up by 20% over last year, Searches for ‘bogo’ (short for ‘buy one get one free’) are currently up by 10% over last year.

Offering consumers some sort of value or discount is expected. Make sure to message your offers, free shipping and other value to your consumers through your advertising and your websites. Let the consumer know they are getting a good deal!

Check out Google's Holiday Marketing Central,, where you’ll be privy to a wealth of exclusive information on consumer shopping behavior, hot products and the latest holiday insights from Google!

When we announced Google’s local shopping mobile alpha this past March, we started with a simple goal of making it as easy to search for products in nearby stores as it is to shop online. Our vision was simple: partner with retailers to organize all of the world’s local product information. The mobile alpha began with a small group of innovative retail partners. Over the past six months, we have been excited with the reception of local availability on mobile and in product extension ads.

Today, we are pleased to announce the launch of local availability results in Google Product Search on desktop. Search for a product and click on the “nearby stores” label, and you can easily find a list of stores to call to check availability, and in many cases, information about whether the product is in stock nearby.

We have partnered with over 70 retail brands and launched over 35, including Williams-Sonoma, Guitar Center, and Office Depot. Through these partnerships, shoppers can now easily and quickly check on the local availability of 4 billion items in local stores. John Koryl, Senior Vice-President of eCommerce Marketing & Analytics at Williams-Sonoma, Inc., describes the value of this partnership to their customers:

"We want our customers to be able to shop whenever and wherever they choose. As a large multi-channel retailer, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., partnered with Google to show our customers the breadth and depth of our in-store product assortment in addition to the online inventory we have been sharing with Google for years. Local availability provides exceptional, local-level product inventory data, store directions and phone numbers. The key is providing our customers with options and Google local availability does exactly that.”

In addition to partnering directly with retailers, we’re also excited to announce that we have partnered with several leading retail software vendors – including JDA, Epicor, and Oracle – to create special adapters that make it even easier for interested retailers to participate. Wayne Usie, Senior Vice-President for Retail at JDA, describes the impact of this feature for retailers:

“JDA is pleased to be among the first companies to implement a tool that allows our customers to share with Google their individual store, product and inventory availability as a part of Google’s ‘local availability’ feature. When shoppers can quickly identify specific product information by store location, it not only leads to a simpler, more productive shopping experience, but can also deliver increased foot traffic and sales for retailers.”

If you’re interested in learning more, please visit our information page. If you use retail software from JDA, Epicor, or Oracle, you can work directly with your company representative to easily and securely submit your local product data to Google. For smaller retailers, watch this space; we’re exploring simple, easy-to-use solutions and look forward to updating you soon.

Event Date: November 16, 2010 at 02:00 PM East/12:00PM Central/11AM Pacific.

Register here.

How do you use online video to market your products online? If you’re Orabrush, a company founded by a dentist to sell a bad-breath fighting tongue brush, you might hire Jeffrey Harmon to build a campaign around a YouTube video. Orabrush’s first video cost $500 and has since earned the company over 13 million views, setting it on the path as an innovator in online video marketing. In addition to its online store, the company now has retail presence in bricks-and-mortar stores and recently hired a chief executive from P&G.

Join this live Webcast with AdAge to hear Jeffrey Harmon and Abe Neiderhauser share their thoughts about what works and what doesn’t with online video advertising.

If you talk to most search engine marketers about how to most effectively control performance, they are likely to talk about 4 main levers of control. These levers most likely are (in no particular order of importance):
  • Keywords
  • Cost per Click (CPC)
  • Ad Text
  • Landing Pages
Marketers can evaluate each of these variables over time (using data) to figure out the most effective combination that will provide the most efficient (and scalable) results. Some sophisticated marketers also tinker with “day-parting” but I wouldn’t put this in the mainstream of variables as this often limits scale in the goal for effiicency.

It’s also true that a number of retailers use geo-targeting in Adwords - but largely for “Online to Store” testing, in-store promotions, new store openings, or something similar. And while I’m probably most passionate about Retailers under-valuing their SEM efforts from the lack of inclusion of brick-and-mortar store benefit -- I also think that traditional retail SEM can be enhanced through the use of geo-targeting.

It’s for these two reasons that I think a key trend in 2011 Retail SEM is going to be geo-targeting. Why not get a head start on this and begin implementing some levers during your Holiday 2010 initiatives?

Recently, we’ve worked with retailers who are looking to grow top-line e-commerce sales but keep marketing efficiency constant. We recommended taking a more local approach (City or State) to SEM rather than their traditional “nation-wide” view. While this definitely takes a bit more elbow-grease to execute, we’ve seen great results.

As an example, when analyzing conversion rate and average order value, we saw that one particular retailer was perfoming 40% better in one city (say, Washington DC) over the national average, yet their MAX CPC’s were set at the same value nationwide. While the actual CPC may vary in each city - the max CPC set by the advertiser, theoretically should be 40% higher than the national average. By bidding more aggressively in areas where we knew conversion rates (or average order values) were higher - we could meet the objective of growing volume but keeping ROI the same.

After seeing this data, we picked a small group of markets (5-10) to test the theory out. We created separate bids and budgets for these high-performing areas and ran campaigns for two weeks to see if the increased bids did in fact grow volume while keeping ROI the same. We were not surprised when our hypothesis came true as we grew revenue a similar ROI. We could simultaneously lower MAX CPCs in poor converting areas (or low AOV) - but decided to wait to do this for the next round of testing.

A few tips on this type of testing based on our experience:
  • Identify good geographic areas of testing: look at Conversion Tracking and/or sales data broken out by state of city and identify top performing areas; cross reference that with Google Insights for Search to see which states or cities index high for specific categories or keywords and look at front-end metrics such as clicks or CTR to see which categories or important products resonate best with consumers.
  • Choose a category / top volume keywords that historically convert well - and be sure to break this out with it’s own budget and bids.
  • Make sure to compare similar products/keywords nationally vs market, rather than looking at the account in aggregate.
  • Be sure to mirror settings from the national campaigns in your newly formed campaigns (e.g. include site-links, product extensions etc. in your geo-targeted campaigns)
  • Be aware of any budget caps that may limit the potential of the test.
  • Start small (5-10 markets) - Iterate, test, and expand.
  • Try testing call-outs of city names in the ad copy to see how CTR is effected.
  • In our experience it’s probably better not to exclude test markets from the national campaign - especially if you are increasing max CPC of the locally targeted ones.
  • Try expanding local reach by geo-targeting with Display to add in another layer/medium for relevant presence.

We would like to invite you to 3 upcoming webinars targeted towards retail clients and the agencies that support them -- YouTube Holiday Planning, Intro to Mobile Ads and Mobile Best Practices. These sessions are designed to help you incorporate video and mobile ad strategies into holiday campaigns and beyond.

YouTube Holiday Webinar
Thursday, November 11, 2010, 10amPST / 12pmCST / 1pmEST
During this session you'll learn how to capitalize on holiday shoppers browsing video content, including customization tips for your YouTube Channel, innovative strategies for sales focused YouTube campaigns and more.
Register here

Introduction to Mobile Ads
Friday, November 12, 2010, 11amPST / 1pmCST / 2pmEST
Learn about the opportunity mobile presents to your business, the mobile advertising products offered by Google and how you can get started.
Register here

Mobile Best Practices
Thursday, November 18, 2010, 11amPST / 1pmCST / 2pmEST
Learn how to measure and optimize your mobile campaigns to increase your mobile ROI.
Register here

Posted by Heidi Spector, Google Retail Team

There is a lot of consumer excitement around new tech products this holiday season. According to our latest research, 56% of shoppers are planning to buy computer related gifts, 50% plan to purchase electronics and 13% of them plan to purchase electronics online (Google/Ipsos OTX Consumer Holiday Shopping Intentions, September 2010).

We looked at Google Insights for Search to see the query volume of a few hot products from three different tech categories: Consumer Electronics & Accessories, Computers & Accessories, and Mobile Phones & Accessories. As you'll see through rising search volumes, consumers are interested in many new electronic devices such as the Kindle, netbooks and smart phones.

Consumer Electronics & Accessories/Kindle
On this graph you see the growth of "Kindle" as a search term, relative to the Computer & Electronics category. The Kindle search term is growing much faster than the overall category and will likely be a hot product this holiday season.

Computers & Accessories

Netbooks and tablets are the hot trending products in this category, as you can see by the growth of searches for Archos 101 and the Android tablet.

Archos 101

Android tablet

Mobile Phones & Accessories

According to our latest Google/Ipsos OTX research, only 1/3 of all consumers in the US use a smartphone, so this presents a large gifting opportunity this holiday season. HTC's search volume peaked in June this year after lauching the HTC Hero, while Nokia peaked in October with the launch of Nokia N8.



To see more of the latest holiday trends in electronics, visit our ThinkHoliday site:

Posted by Anne Beuttenmüller, Google Tech Team

Holiday researching is starting earlier and earlier. We've been surveying shoppers every 2 weeks to track progress of their holiday shopping and as of October 19:

Source: Google/Ipsos OTX Consumer Pulse Check.

The biggest takeway is that researching/shopping started even earlier than last year. By October 19, 73% of consumers had started researching/shopping vs. 59% in 2009. Purchasing remains more consistent: 51% in 2010 vs. 46% in 2009. Although retailers will see a bulk of their sales in December, consumers are beginning to make decisions about what they are going to buy, and half have already bought a holiday gift.

Source: Google/OTX Consumer Pulse Check.

And why are consumers shopping earlier? They want to know they’ll get the items they want, and beat the rush. Consumers want more time to choose, research and decide. And they believe they can get better deals if they start researching earlier.

Many retailers launched their holiday sites and promotions over the past week including Toys R'Us, Macy's and Best Buy. With Christmas just 46 days away, its time to get your holiday messaging into the marketplace!

Which is your favorite day to shop? It probably won’t surprise you that most stores see their highest traffic on Saturdays. But what do you think is the most popular day to shop online? If you said Monday, you’re wrong. Looking at daily e-commerce spend data from the past five Decembers, Tuesday is the peak shopping day online.

Knowing when potential customers are in the hunt can help retailers manage their marketing budgets and promotion calendars. Savvy retailers are mining their online sales data to identify patterns around website purchase activity to make sure that they are top of mind when shoppers want to buy. Armed with that insight, here are some ways to make your marketing stand out.
  1. Make sure customers know you are open for business. If you know your product sells best on Fridays, boost your marketing and advertising on Fridays so shoppers can easily find you. Retailers who under-budget for their major shopping days may miss a chance to reach people who are ready to buy.
  2. Plan for the purchase cycle. Your product may sell best on Friday, but how long does the buyer think about it? Some products are impulse buys, some require heavy research over a few days. Build this buying cycle into your marketing plans. You can gradually build awareness, or blast targeted marketing messages quickly at high volume.
  3. Use customized marketing messages. When you know what customers are likely doing, you can speak to them more directly about the product, the price and what other customers are saying.
  4. Tailor special offers to drive sales. Do your customers value free shipping or in-store pickup? Do they want a discount or a special bonus for buying? Test how different promotions change buyer behavior. You can shorten the sales cycle and win more business when you know what your customer values.

Posted by Julie Lentz, Google Retail Team

Q4. Holiday. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. We all know site traffic, store traffic and sales increase during this crazed retail rush but did you know that online also drives more visits to your physical stores during this time period?

Earlier this year at a Innovation Summit, Best Buy stated 80% of customers that come in their stores started their product research on How many of your shoppers start on your site first?

Looking at Insights for Search, queries for ‘store locator’ and ‘store locations’ sharply rise in November and peak in December every year. These types of searches are increasing in number yearly, and we have already seen a slight bump in store locator searches this year around Back to School.

So how can you leverage this type of search activity? According to our latest Google/Ipsos OTX consumer intentions study from September 2010, 68% of consumers are likely to take advantage of purchase incentives during this holiday season. Why not utilize a portion of the inventory on your store locator page to entice consumers to pick up their keys and immediately drive to the store by offering special deals once shoppers reach this page on your site?

Maybe it’s 10% off one full price item, or even regional or store specific offers. Perhaps in San Diego 20% off candles could be compelling, but in Charlotte 20% off rugs brings in the masses. The specials could vary based on inventory volume and slow moving merchandise or even change daily, depending on what is featured in stores or on your website. If you really wanted to make things interesting, you could add in a time sensitive component such as 30% off if used in the next 12 hours, 20% off if used in the next 24 hours or 10% off if used in the next 48 hours.

Special store locator deals could be an especially strong tactic for locations that are struggling. If a consumer is seeking a store that is currently experiencing soft sales, serve a coupon for 40% off any item just for that store location.

And don’t forget about consumers that use their mobile devices to find store locations and driving directions – offer the same types of deals on your mobile site as well.

Even if you are not able to provide store specific or product specific offers on your site, know that store location queries are sky high in Q4 and the real estate on your store location page should incentivize consumers when your brand is top of mind to immediately get off the sofa and check out what you’ve got in your stores.

Posted by Kelly Smith, Google Retail Team

One third of consumers already have smartphones and the number is growing rapidly. Out of these, more than 50% will use their phones to compare prices this holiday season. During our “Think Holiday” webinar we asked Alex Barza, Mobile Leader for Retail, to provide recommendations on how retailers can achieve their goals this holiday season utilizing mobile.

Alex covered a number of tactics retailers can use now and in 2011, through Google’s mobile solutions:
  • Driving foot traffic in-store via location aware ads
  • Utilizing mobile offers to extend the reach of holiday promotions
  • Having an App and promoting it, through both mobile search and display
For complete details on Google's Mobile recommendations, you can view the presentation here.


Do you know that 89% of consumers started their holiday shopping online?

Or that searches for 'coupons' peak on Saturdays?

If not, you should visit our ThinkHoliday site: where you’ll be privy to a wealth of exclusive information on consumer shopping behavior, hot products and the latest holiday insights.

We’ll be updating the site frequently as holiday approaches so bookmark it and check back often. The holidays are . . . on!