June 23, 2011, 10:38 AM

Consumers seem willing to spend more this holiday season, but retailers must do their part

A Coremetrics reports urges stronger retailer focus on retargeting and mobile commerce.

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Online retailers can boost sales during the upcoming holiday season by focusing on sending personalized e-mails to shoppers who browse but don’t buy, along with boosting their use of product recommendations, according to new report from Coremetrics, a web analytics unit of IBM.

The “4th Annual Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report” says that average order values for online purchases hit $190 last December, up nearly 11% from the same month in 2009. Based on Coremetrics’ data from more than 500 U.S. web merchants, that amount is likely to rise as average order values in April reached $204.58, a record high and up 70% from the most recent low of $120 in June 2008, in the middle of the recent recession.

“As the economic rebound continues retailers have the opportunity to capitalize on consumers’ newfound willingness to spend,” the report states. “Smart retailers will not rest on their successes but will aggressively expand their e-marketing, web analytics, mobile and social efforts to maximize returns.”

One way to lure back online browsers is through e-mails and display ads that promote products targeted consumers looked at on e-commerce sites. Retailers also can further personalize marketing e-mails with recommendations for products based on consumer browsing behavior, making use of IBM-Coremetrics algorithms to determine the best products to promote, the report says. Such marketing generally is called retargeting.

Retailers hoping for a strong holiday season also should leverage social networks to identify potential customers. “Segments of social media users who browsed your site or (put products in shopping carts) but abandoned them are ideal for retargeting via personalized e-mail or display ads,” the report says. It adds that Coremetrics research shows that visitors from social media sites have a 10.7% conversion rate, more than the 5.2% conversion rate for all visitors, and 3.9% for mobile users.

The report urges retailers to make sure their sites are easy to use for consumers using mobile devices. That because the Coremetrics study says that 7.6% of e-commerce visits already come from consumers using mobile devices, and that is expected to increase to double digits by this year’s holiday shopping season.

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