How can online retailers prepare to effectively compete during the upcoming holiday season?  According to the Coremetrics 3rd Annual Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report, online shopping these days is all about fast and targeted sessions. Retailers who meet these consumer needs will end 2010 with positive results.

Here’s what a typical online shopping session has looked like this year:

  • Average order value: $190
  • Average number of items per order: 7
  • Average length of browsing session: 7 minutes
  • Number of filled shopping carts that are purchased: 1 in 3
  • Number of products viewed during a session: 1.9
  • High shopping cart conversion categories: Apparel (30.3%) and Beauty (34.6%)

Coremetrics analysts say the numbers show that while consumers are spending more money on the Web, they’re also spending less time browsing and viewing products. Analysts call the trend ‘surgical shopping’. To capture consumers who have an ever-increasing number of shopping options available to them every day, marketers should:

  • Ramp up social media marketing
  • Personalize product recommendations
  • Launch mobile shopping apps
  • Rapidly re-target the shopper via personalized email

Analysts note that “[p]ersonalized product recommendations are a powerful way to drive cross sell and up sell, and expand your share of the holiday wallet. Numerous studies have shown that consumers appreciate being presented with offers in categories such as ‘other customers bought’ or ‘you might also like.’ ”

In addition, marketers must do more than just launch a mobile shopping app. Using limited time promotions exclusively through various social media channels such as Twitter or Facebook will separate online retail leaders from laggards.  Marketers who begin using these tactics now will be in good shape during the upcoming holiday season.

[Source: Coremetrics 3rd Annual Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report. Coremetrics.com. July 2010. Web. 8 Aug 2010]