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Traditional Advertising Opens Internet Flood gates for Xmas and the new Year
he initial on-line sales figures for the holidays are in - & so far the numbers are making bullish analysts look sharp & the doubters look flat.
Most research firms projected that holiday shopping would bring in anywhere from $2.3 billion to $5 billion.
An Amazon.com spokesman says that the company sold 4 times as many goods the day after this Thanksgiving as it did the day after last Thanksgiving.
The Boston Consulting Group and Shop.org recently announced that Internet sales between Nov. 23 and Dec. 20, 1998 leaped 230% above last year.
According to Los Angeles market research firm Binary Compass Enterprises, the week of Dec. 7 to Dec. 13 marked the biggest shopping week of the year for the Web; it brought in $494 million. And Dec. 14 saw shoppers falling over each other to spend nearly $80 million on-line in one day.
The holiday season is considered the best measure of the future of Web shopping. Net sales still account for "less than 1% of the total retail sector," says David Pecaut, senior VP and head of the electronic commerce practice at Boston Consulting Group.
With the other 99% of retail sales up for grabs, the new millennium is exploding with potential Internet Commerce.
(Portions of this section adapted from IDG.net articles.)
Off-line Ads driving Internet Sales
Some observers think that the value in traditional advertising for Web merchants right before Christmas proved the most important lesson from this holiday season. On-line merchants who made significant investments in off-line media advertising saw big jumps in both traffic and sales.
Steve Hamlin, I-QVC's VP of operations, says that I-QVC holiday sales jumped to about $12 million this season, from $4 million last year. Hamlin adds that the biggest surprise for I-QVC was the increase in toy sales this year over last. He attributes the jump to much greater consumer awareness of toys being sold on the Internet.
Much of that awareness can be traced to eToys.
The on-line toy company launched a major off-line media campaign for the holidays, co-branding together with Visa. Who hasn't seen this ad? Buy.com, Value America, Barnesandnoble.com and Beyond.com all launched major off-line advertising campaigns for the holidays.
Proctor & Gamble a Driving Internet Force?
Procter & Gamble, who claims to be the largest advertiser on earth plans to spend 80% of its $3 billion ad budget on the Internet. This goal is within 5 years. In 1998 the Internet only saw 1% of that budget. Back in 1950 P & G was only spending 3% of its ad budget in TV, while putting the rest into the established radio market. P & G then set a 5 year goal to spend 80% of the ad budget in TV. We all know how that one turned out with an entire generation raised on P & G commercials and jingles.
The volatility and ever changing pseudo rules of the Internet are no secret. P & G is looking to change the face of Internet advertising with their new goal by pumping in such a large amount of advertising dollars, just as they helped to shape the 2 most powerful emerging advertising markets of radio & TV when they were young,
Lessons From the Big Guys?
Creating a Web site may actually be the least expensive piece of the whole on-line puzzle. The missing piece for most is off-line traditional advertising. As the figures show, getting the word out in the "real" world can be crucial to the success of an Internet based business. Registering with search engines, trading links & banner ads may be well-known on-line tactics, but the Internet is a mere infant as far as advertising markets go. Whether the customer needs to walk into a fast food restaurant or visit a Web Site...radio, TV, & print are proven to bring in the consumers.
Local papers and national niche magazines are a great way to get your Web Site noticed by a target market before they log on. TV may be the most powerful of mediums but remains out of reach for most small Web businesses. Radio can serve up the customers for a more affordable price tag.
In any case for memory's sake, your domain should be short and sweet with no dots or dashes if it can be helped. A primary .com address is also the best if your business name is not already snatched up.
A monthly budget for advertising and Web Site maintenance should be figured into your Internet business plan BEFORE you take the on-line plunge.
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