‘Tis the season to get prepared for the holiday online shopping season, and the good news is it’s going to be a strong one – according to Stefan Tornquist, Marketing Sherpa’s Research director and panelist on a webinar I recently moderated. Tornquist predicts that retailers will see solid growth this coming holiday season, and offers up several tactics for a successful Q4.


The key message I took from Tornquist’s presentation was ‘retention trumps acquisition’: by this he suggests that retailers should adopt practices that result in keeping more customers and keeping them happy. As such, his first recommendation was to focus on reducing abandonment. Tornquist also suggests keeping various tactics in perspective in terms of the time and investment they require, compared with their effectiveness. Finally, Tornquist emphasizes the need for ongoing and disciplined measurement – citing rampant lack of insight into paid search conversion metrics among a large percentage of eCommerce businesses.


We were also joined by Steven Harris, VP of Online Marketing at Cable Shopping Network (CSN) who picked up on Tornquist’s first theme. Harris, who has deployed automated and targeted email as a very effective remarketing tool, talked about how their efforts to tackle the cart abandonment problem have resulted in more than $250K in recovered revenue. He really hits home his point by pointing out the absurdity of how we tend look at an abandoned cart in a grocery store as crisis, but view abandonment as normal on the Web!


Ben Viscon, Online Merchandising Manager at Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), wrapped up with the discussion with his 5 online holiday readiness tactics:

1. PLAN – monitor successes/failures; examine site search logs and browse patterns as they relate to conversions and AOV; and start planning for next year as soon as this season ends

2. MAKE IT EASY – give your customers what they need to make a buying decision (product compare; reviews and related items – to name a few)

3. INTEGRATE MARKETING TOUCHPOINTS – from email to cross-channel incentives

4. VALUE – it’s not just about price

5. FLEXIBILITY – have a backup plan, and be ready to react throughout the holiday season


Stefan, Steven and Ben shared some great insights and advice in this Webinar. It’s available on-demand, so I encourage you to follow this link to view it – there are some great nuggets in there for any retailer in the midst of getting ready Holiday 09: http://www.omniture.com/go/24287.