January 4, 2006, 12:00 AM

Holly jolly online shopping

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Vice president of marketing Dustin Robertson says that through mid December, revenues at Backcountry were up 114% over the same period last December, and that the company anticipates it will exceed its December revenue goal, already high, by about 20%.

Asked to put a headline on the difference between December 2004 and December 2005, Robertson replied, “Night and day. All the work we did all year is paying off across all the marketing channels.” Helping to achieve those results were a new e-mail vendor that boosted deliverability to 95%, a doubling in number of the marketing staff and an API integration with Yahoo and Google search engines that allows Backcountry to update keywords via feeds instead of spreadsheets delivered to search engines.

Glittering sales

One of the most telling statistics about the acceptance of the Internet by mainstream shoppers came a week before the Christmas/Hanukkah holiday: Jewelry & Luxury Goods was the fastest growing online retail category, comScore Media Metrix reported, up 39% in November over October. “Consumers are investing an increasing amount of trust and discretionary dollars in the web, as evidenced by the growth of sites where big ticket items are sold,” says Peter Daboll, president and CEO of comScore Media Metrix.

Offline retail spending was strong as well. With a week and a half before Christmas and Hanukkah, which experienced a rare convergence on Dec. 25, retail sales were up 7.4% over the year before, excluding automobile, gas station and restaurant sales, the National Retail Federation reported. In mid December, the Deloitte Research Leading Index of Consumer Spending forecast that General Merchandise, Apparel and Furniture sales would grow 4-4.5% for the holiday season.


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