December 22, 2003, 12:00 AM

Daily transactions, traffic up in early December, says

Free shipping and gift selection tools are helping to lift holiday sales online. Retailers are delivering on shoppers’ expectations with 88% of consumers reporting that they are very or somewhat satisfied with their online shopping experience.


The third installment of the ongoing eHoliday Mood Study shows that free shipping with conditions continues to be the top online marketing feature at driving sales for e-retailers. In survey data from the first two weeks in December, it was cited as the most successful type of online marketing promotion by 48% of the retailers polled, the largest share, rising from the 44% who’d identified it as the top marketing promotion in survey data from the previous two weeks.

“Something about free shipping really resonates with consumers,” says Scott Silverman, executive director of “Retailers understand what consumers want and they’re giving it to them.”

Online-only sales were another popular marketing feature with 24% of retailers giving it a top ranking, up from 17% who did so for the previous two-week period. Online-only sales actually overtook free shipping with no conditions, which was cited by 20% of retailers, up from 19% in the previous two weeks.

The survey also found that a majority of retailers’ average daily transactions and site traffic rose compared with the same two-week period last year. 86% said their average daily transactions had increased significantly or somewhat, while 85% said site traffic had increased significantly or somewhat. And the retailers surveyed appeared to be handling increased transactions and site activity well: 88% of consumers reported that they were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their online holiday shopping experience. “Because online shopping is so quick and convenient, online retailers are proving themselves to be a great alternative to shopping at the mall,” adds Silverman.

Online shopping tools have contributed to the holiday sales lift, with 35% of e-retailers polled reporting that gift idea centers were their most successful site feature and another 29% reporting that suggested items was their most successful shopping tool. However, product promotions were the biggest draw, with 39% of retailers choosing it as their most successful site feature.

The 2003 eHoliday Mood Study, conducted every two weeks during the holiday season, includes responses from some 1,270 online buyers and more than 80 online retailers.


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