August 23, 2005, 12:00 AM

43% of web-only retailers rely on holidays for 25-50% of sales, survey says

A WebTrends survey finds 43% of web-only retailers expect the holidays to bring in 25% to 50% of the year’s sales. That’s followed by 37% of web and store retailers, 41% of web and catalog merchants, and 27% of fully multi-channel merchants.

The holiday season accounts for 50% or more of the year’s revenue for one in five multi-channel retailers, but for Internet-only merchants, the season’s even more critical, accounting for the bulk of the year’s total for one in four. The findings, from a recent WebTrends Inc. survey, show that among the merchants who expect the holidays to bring in 25% to 50% of their revenue, web-only retailers lead the pack at 43%, followed by 37% of web and store retailers, 31% of web and catalog retailers, and 27% of retailers with operations spanning web, store and catalog.

This holiday season, free shipping tops the list of marketing promotions retailers plan to use, with 63% saying they expect to offer them. 42% said they plan to offer value-added promotions such as free gift with purchase, while repeat buyer discounts and online-only sales ties as the third most popular holiday promotion planned by retailers.

Most of the retailers surveyed will be executing four different on-site merchandising features and several will have as many as eight of them this holiday, the survey found. These include “Suggested items,” planned by 59% of retailers, followed by 55% that will offer “gift idea center,” 54%” that plan “featured sales item page,” 45% that will offer “best-seller,” and 39% that will offer “gift card” features, according to the survey.

Though collectively planning heavy use of such on-site features, more than half of all merchants surveyed aren’t planning testing to optimize campaigns and content, the survey found. A categorical exception was retailers with annual revenue of $100 million or more, of which 60% plan to conduct testing of holiday site features.

“Regardless of the specific initiatives retailers are planning for the holidays, testing and optimization and advanced segmentation through web analytics will help them gain a more granular understanding of customers’ preferences to more effectively tailor their offerings expand their relationships with existing customers,” says Web Trends CEO Greg Drew.


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