Shopping Online for the Holidays?

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A recent Yahoo!/Harris poll had some telling results for small business owners.

    Some highlights:

  • 76% of holiday shoppers said they will buy gifts online;
  • 75% said they are likely to buy gifts online from a small business;
  • 63% said online niche retailers are a ‘best place’ to shop for hard-to-find gifts;
  • 55% said it is important for their favorite specialty or gift stores to have an online presence;
  • 60% said recommendations from friends and family are key influencers for shoppers;
  • 6% said ‘social media’ are important.

Wow! I hope that gets your attention. You don’t have to sell gifts and doodads to read these numbers into your small business.

“Many consumers rely on small businesses that are online during the holiday shopping season because they offer variety, value and unique gifts that aren’t always available in stores,” said Rich Riley, vice president and general manager of Yahoo! Small Business, the division of Yahoo! that powers more than 40,000 online stores. “The survey shows that shoppers have high expectations, but also high confidence in buying holiday gifts online with small businesses.”

A couple of other points of note.

    If shopping at a small business online, what features would you find most important for an overall positive experience?

  • Trusted, secure online payment system (such as Paypal) 76%
  • Ease in navigating the site to browse, get information and make purchases 76%
  • Simplified customer checkout process 58%
  • Easy registration process 52%
  • 24-hour customer services 47%
  • Attractive, professionally designed Web pages 39%

I want you to pay attention to the last point here – attractive design is where a lot of folks put the most attention. I’m not saying you should make homely pages (although there is some data to suggest testing this.) but I am saying that other factors may be more important. Don’t ignore them.

I wrote an article on some of these trust building web practices in a recent newsletter issue. Read More


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