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As Econsultancy sets its out of office reply to ‘can’t talk, stuffing mince pies in my face’ all that’s left to do is publish one final missive before we disappear into a fog of sherry, then forget to use that Heston Blumenthal turkey brining kit we bought while a bit tipsy in Waitrose last night.
Before that happens though, all of us here at Econsultancy would like to say a huge thank you to all of our readers, subscribers, delegates and clients.
It’s been an incredible year and it would have been significantly less incredible without you.
We’ll be signing off now until after Christmas, when we’ll return with our usual high-quality mixture of expert research, stunning insight and terribly useful best practice guidance served with a healthy side of irreverence.
However there’s still masses here to keep you entertained and informed if you happen to be online over the next few days...
In the run up to Christmas, which British retailers are going the extra mile to fuel their sales?
Christmas campaigns have become as much of a staple as turkey and brussel sprouts - get it right or face the wrath of the people.
Although we would rather have a face full of mince pies washed down with mulled wine, it’s British retailers’ Christmas campaigns that are right in our face this November.
Argos launched its Christmas gift finder this week, with a swipe to like app for mobile and desktop.
The app has been soft-launched, and received more than 300,000 visits, three quarters of those from mobile devices.
I've been trying the app out.
It’s November, which means it’s time for retailers to start ramping up their Christmas marketing efforts.
US brands still have Thanksgiving and the whole Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping bonanza to get out of the way first, but in the UK marketers have a clear two-month run up to Christmas Day.
The avalanche of seasonal joy kicked off in earnest last week with the unveiling of John Lewis’ penguin TV ad, followed by less-popular efforts from it rivals.
But alongside the big TV reveals, digital marketers have also begun dropping in mentions of Christmas.
I’ve started to receive emails promoting various offers and sales, though it hasn’t yet been the torrent of Christmas-related messages that I was expecting.
It's Friday, and as my colleague Ben Davis is busy with other tasks I've saddled up to takeover the internet statistics round up once again.
This week it includes customer data, Toyota's Twitter skills, mobile search, Christmas discounts, eBay, and other digital marketing goodness.
For more of the same, download the Econsultancy Internet Statistics Compendium...
Paid search is a key element of marketing campaigns during the festive shopping season.
What should advertisers be focusing on to succeed this year?
There used to be an unspoken rule about the Christmas retail season that any ads would only begin after Bonfire Night was over. After that, the deluge began.
Unusually for today’s society, this particular season is getting longer not shorter, as advertisers and retailers inculcate in consumers the idea that Halloween is now the time when the floodwaters are unleashed.
Christmas now begins on November 1st, Hark the Herald Angels Sing! But for online retailers it comes even earlier because of the seasonal gravity of that time of year.
A bad Christmas in the age of algorithms and customer acquisition extends beyond revenues and margins; it probably spells the end.
Recent research from Ometria bears this out on data it accumulated from comparing last year’s Christmas with the first ten months of this year.
This is a huge increase from the 45% of online users using click and collect last Christmas.
Obviously the main benefit of click and collect is the ability to pick up purchases when and where the customer chooses.
You don’t have to wait in your house all day for a package, or take a trip down to the sorting office before it closes on a Saturday morning if you’ve missed it.
The other benefit is that theoretically click and collect should always be free to the customer. Almost 80% of the online shoppers surveyed said they expect click and collect to be offered for free.
How should sites plan their SEO strategies for seasonal events, which tend to be very competitive?
The obvious example is Christmas, but recurring events like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and sporting occasions like the Grand National all provide spikes in traffic and interest which brands should look to take advantage of.
Using examples for Christmas-related search terms, I'll look at the best strategy for ranking for such competitive events.
Broadly speaking, the answer is to publish early and not to mess with the pages too much.
For anyone thinking of buying online between now and Christmas Eve, one of the biggest questions will be 'can this retailer deliver in time for Christmas?'.
However, many ecommerce sites are still way too vague about this information. This means that people will either decide not to order, or will press ahead and risk disappointment.
With the example of children's onesies (which seem to be like hen's teeth this year), I'll be looking at the approaches of different sites.
With higher-than-usual retail activity, an abundance of free time for many people and the popularity of tech-orientated gifts, Christmas is always an interesting time for digital trends.
The Ecommerce section of our Internet Statistics Compendium includes the best freely available Christmas e-retail data from around the web as well as our own research, and now stretches back several years.
This gives users a good overview of how people are increasingly approaching their festive shopping across digital media and platforms, and helps us make some predictions about forthcoming Christmas behaviour for 2013.
In the run up to Christmas 2013, it seems that online fashion retailer ASOS is the top UK brand on Pinterest, generating 1,728 shares per week.
These findings come from the latest study by Searchmetrics, based on the top ten UK retail sites.
Every company in the top 10 has set up its own official Pinterest page, largely as a result of the image based platform becoming the third biggest social network globally and increasingly responsible for driving traffic towards ecommerce.
Here’s some more stats that highlight ASOS’s success on Pinterest.