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Resource Interactive’s tenth annual qualitative
review of the online holiday experience.
Holi S P E C I A
day L FO
Ten- Gifting C U S :
Retr rends a
How time flies. This year a
Resource Interactive e-retail
team stepped out into the field
to evaluate the holiday season e-commerce
experience for the tenth year in a row. With a
decade of hindsight, our multidisciplinary team
of researchers audited 50 top online retailers.
This study of the 006 holiday season spanned
seven weeks, and involved hours of site browsing,
product selecting, purchasing, contacting customer service and visiting
So what did we find? Online retailers ushered in the season by elevating
holiday gift guides, trumpeting cross-channel buying options and coming
out from behind the shadows of their offline counterparts. Cyber Monday
officially moved from industry term to consumer speak, and had the
promotional fanfare to prove it. By the week after Thanksgiving, we were
already getting “Last Chance for Holiday Savings” emails—setting a tone of
urgency for the season.
While a few years ago many web sites acted like digital versions of stores
or catalogs, this year they leveraged the channel and realized opportunities
all their own—much to consumers’ benefit. From sites that integrated the
product assortments of multiple brands for one-stop-shopping convenience
to product pages that let consumers examine the goods as if they were
actually holding them, traditional e-commerce barriers fell away.
Although brick-and-mortar retailers continued to edge out pure players in
the race for online sales supremacy, the continuously innovating
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Amazon.com proved the exception with four million orders placed on
Gift Guidance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 December 11—breaking its previous sales records.
Today Only . . .Until Tomorrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Brands that tapped into their internet potential fueled a season that saw
Smoother Channel Surfing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 online sales climb to $.1 billion—6% more than 005, according to
A Shift in Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 comScore Networks Inc., and more than twenty times the $1.1 billion BCC
Learning to Leverage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Research (formerly Business Communications Company, Inc.) reported in
Retrospective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
1997, the year of our first study.
Memory Lane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends
©007 Resource Interactive. All rights reserved. SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends and Retrospective
most likely for future purchases. Based on personality cues, Sephora’s
Fragrance Finder helped customers find a unique and personal gift by
navigating fine fragrance notes. Toys “R” Us’ Toy Guide for Differently-
Abled Kids explained how individual toys work, and what skills they
help children develop.
Beyond gift ideas, retailers continued to offer shoppers a way to give
back, announcing that a portion of proceeds would go to a worthy cause.
More retailers became virtual middlemen for taking and delivering
01 GIFT GUIDANCe
customer donations, with one-third of the sites we reviewed making
philanthropic gestures. Williams-Sonoma solicited help for St. Jude
Children’s Research Hospital through a link on its homepage. JCPenney
donated a portion of
its proceeds to an
Gift guides were in full force—on homepages, in navigation Target’s online Angel
and emails. But while the ideas were plentiful, points of view Giving Tree was a
were not. Rather than showcase their expertise, retailers partnership with The
repackaged lists of “best sellers” or “what’s hot.” And Salvation Army—an
while Amazon.com shoppers could browse by products organization whose
with the most popular customer-created tags, few other banishment from Target’s
brands leveraged customer favorites or their own research, storefronts (honoring a
experience and insight to help shoppers find gifts for the corporate no-solicitation
hard-to-buy-for. Among the standouts, Anthropologie’s policy) brought
thoughtfully bundled cross-category gifts for “The Snow Giving back: TARGET.COM controversy back in 00.
Bunny,” “The Homebody” and “The Globetrotter” invited
exploration. Crate and Barrel’s “This and That” paired
complementary items for a well-rounded gift, but was AMAzOn’S GIFT ORGAnIzER
removed from the site before the season was in full swing. One of the latest
Borders’ GiftSquad offered helpful suggestions— if only innovations from
the animated instructions that accompanied the experience Amazon.com was the
could have been skipped on repeat visits. merging of multiple
functionalities to help
Kudos to retailers that helped consumers shop outside their
customers give during
comfort zones and beyond what’s familiar. Gifts for “the
the holiday season
cook,” for example, are nice in theory, but customers not
and beyond. By
culinarily-inclined needed a bit more help choosing between
keeping track of not
a panini press and a griddle. Brands like Giggle and
just what customers A gift history hub: AMAzOn.COM
Gifts.com that suggested not just what to buy, but why
are purchasing, but
to buy it increased shopper confidence this season, and
whom they’re buying for and why, Amazon.com took steps
toward a truly intelligent—and useful—gift guide.
SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 5
Any site that showed its everyday global navigation in green and Fruitless Searches
red type, and called that a gift guide (you know who you are) gets While some shoppers go online with specific brands in mind, others
our Blind Spot vote. There were so many we stopped counting. might only know that they want the season’s popular argyle sweater.
Without the brand recall to go directly to a retailer’s site, these
customers relied on search engines to lead the way. Unfortunately,
because many of the best (and biggest) retailers didn’t put much
effort into global search engine optimization, shoppers went where
search engines took them—not necessarily where they needed to
go. With nearly 7 billion searches being conducted every month in
HELP FOR THE HOLIdAYS the US, having a well-optimized site is now virtually a requirement for
selling anything online.
As holiday online traffic increases overall, so does the We found that less than half of the retailers we measured were
number of new customers visiting your site . Some might implementing search optimization at a best-practice level, and
be new to your brand; others might be new to your several retailers had significant barriers that stopped search engines
merchandise category . Just as you train seasonal store from indexing their product pages:
associates differently, you must also guide seasonal Many retailer sites used highly-dynamic URLs that were not
customers differently . A gift guide needs to go beyond search friendly, causing product pages to be unindexable
product suggestions, and include confidence-building by engines.
input to encourage these shoppers to buy . While retailer product pages often had descriptive copy, there was
often very little keyword-rich copy on home, landing or category
pages. Paired with the dynamic URLs mentioned above, this left
little usable copy for search engines to rank against.
Page titling, an important aspect in ranking algorithms used by
search engines, was frequently an issue.
Who got it right: Bluefly and L.L.Bean used page titling to its
LOOkInG BACk: OUR 2003 HOLIdAY STUdY fullest. Bluefly often included sale information in the title, and
While today gift guides are a holiday mainstay, it was as recently as 00 that L.L.Bean used highly descriptive titles that were frequently
updated. Who didn’t: American Eagle used very short page titles
e-retailers first embraced the challenge of helping consumers find the perfect gift.
that often lacked effective keywords and were not descriptive of
page content. Anthropologie employed the exact same title for
every page, missing a critical opportunity to provide accurate,
Many more sites featured gift finders, guides keyword-rich page descriptors for products.
or idea sections this year, and with increased Recent data from competitive intelligence service Hitwise concludes
categorization… Too many sites focused on that one out of every four visits going to a shopping site originated at
elementary segmentations—namely gender— a search engine. Without proper search optimization, the opportunity
often leaving consumers to click through a to reach a potential customer can be lost.
mass of generic “gifts for her.”
WE LOOkEd FOR:
— E-Commerce Watch 2003 9 Descriptive titles 9 Meta data
9 Search-friendly product pages 9 Keyword-rich copy
SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 6 SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 7
L.L.BEAn’S HOLIdAY COUnTdOWn CALEndAR
L.L.Bean treated shoppers to
a new gift suggestion on its
site each day. While some daily
messages announced promotions,
other recommendations were just
that—thoughtfully selected, can’t-
0 TODAY ONLY...
miss gift ideas.
At the peak of the holiday season, more than one-third of the
retailers in our study reached out to customers every hours. Daily dose: L.L.BEAn.COM
Daily contact marked online retailers’ bold attempt to shift
consumers’ habits. Formal programs such as Bluefly’s “Steal-
a-Day” and Lands’ End’s “1 Gifts of Christmas” promoted
habitual site visits. Unfortunately, when combined with urgent
“Last Chance” emails, it created unwanted angst about getting Frequent emails are the norm for discount designer goods
the best deal. retailer Bluefly. But patience and trust wore thin when daily
offers became difficult to distinguish from one another without
Some sites used this increased frequency poring over a paragraph’s worth of fine print. With the seemingly
to offer inspired suggestions, but far more random promotional cadence, we never knew when to buy…and
common—and less enjoyable—were ever- therefore, never did.
changing shipping and sales promotions.
Overall, this strategy was novel, but everyday
deals aren’t on brand for every retailer. The
usually elegant gift site RedEnvelope tarnished
its brand image with highly promotional
emails—nearly 1 days in a row.
Big gamble: BLUEFLY.COM
Inspiring daily gifts: FREEPEOPLE.COM
SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 9
TODAY ONLY...UNTIL TOMORROW
PLAY FAIR Detouring Traffic Jams
Customers are savvy enough to realize that promotions Perhaps it should go without saying, but you can’t make
increase and prices go down as the season progresses . money if customers can’t get into your online store. Yet
So not only will they spot a misused sense of urgency several of the 50 we audited—including Wal-Mart, Apple,
when you insist “Today Only!” when tomorrow’s deal Urban Outfitters and Macy’s—experienced outages on
is better, they’ll also stop trusting you as well . Instead, easily predictable high-traffic days. Amazon.com screeched
to a halt at precisely the day and minute it had invited us to
inspire customers with key items or promotions that
purchase one of the 1,000 Xbox 60 game consoles at the
encourage purchase, not make them fearful to do so . “Customer Vote” price of $100.
Even better, tell them what the rules of the sale are . And
if price adjustments are available for online purchases, Technical difficulties even crossed channels. One Resource
Interactive researcher tested Circuit City’s “-minute
disclose details for how to get them .
in-store pickup” on Black Friday only to find out upon
arrival that the store systems were “four hours behind the
internet.” Too late to wait on her television for Friday’s big
game, she cancelled the order, forfeiting the free gift card
that was part of their guarantee.
LOOkInG BACk: OUR 1998 HOLIdAY STUdY Want more motivation? As we draw closer to a time when
shopping via mobile device will be as second nature as
The abundance of promotions from e-retailers this year—with so many daily purchasing off our laptops, the need for effective web
emails and updates—is in sharp contrast to their cautionary approach of 199. traffic forecasting tools is critical. Leading the charge to
mobile will be Digital Millennials*—Gen Y, tech-savvy
shoppers who don’t just expect instant gratification, they
The holiday shopping season had little demand it. Sites that have traffic under control will reap
the benefits of those disposable incomes, and will be light
promotional activity. Most online merchants years ahead of those retailers still refusing to plan.
were already overwhelmed by volume and
didn’t want to overload their systems during
the most critical time of the year.
— E-Commerce Watch 1998
Used humor to soothe disappointed customers:
*Learn more about digital Millenials at www.resource.com.
SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 10 SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 11
Several retailers used their cross-channel connections to increase
customer convenience. Notably, Crate and Barrel announced that same
day in-store pickup was a phone call away, while Circuit City positioned
“ Ways to Buy” prominently in emails. And Bath Body Works’ Black
Friday promotion seamlessly integrated a Resource-created email blast
with its web site focus, in-store marketing and television ad. In our work
with Wal-Mart, we created online advertising to promote “secret”
in-store deals that were unveiled only online. This program helped
SMOOTHeR Wal-Mart claim the top spot for online traffic on both Thanksgiving Day
and Black Friday.
More brands than ever before reached out across channels to
their brand counterparts. Homepages touted multiple ways to
shop. Sister brands promoted one another. Web sites supported
in-store promotions. It wasn’t perfect, but it was progress.
Gap Inc.’s family of brands cross-promoted each other online
and in bouncebacks. Although a lackluster execution, Sears
Holdings Corporation brought together the combined
product selections of its Sears, kmart and Lands’ End brands
In-store specials, revealed online: WALMART.COM
for one-stop shopping. Crate and Barrel, which also promoted
sister home décor brand CB2 on its homepage, perhaps said it
best by inviting shoppers to “Think of [sister site The Land of While many online venues gave shoppers great reasons to visit their
nod] as Crate and Barrel for kids.” brick-and-mortar destinations, few offline stores returned the favor by
sending customers to their sites. Promoting a channel that offers the
Best Buy perfected its online- convenience of expanded inventory combined with reduced waiting
offline connection with a web seems obvious this time of year.
site tool that appeared during
its online Thanksgiving Day Another benefit of driving traffic online is that even when the store is
sale, and facilitated Black closed, the site is still open. Promotions for Thanksgiving Day specials
Friday shopping in-store. kept consumers busy through dessert. After presents were opened,
victoria’s Secret PInk used shoppers on Christmas Day were lured online when visions of early sales
homepage real estate to send danced in their heads. Retailers including Best Buy, victoria’s Secret
customers to stores for a and Eddie Bauer quenched the thirst for a deal, and helped customers
limited-editionT-shirt. spend their shiny new gift cards.
Promoting the big sale: BESTBUY.COM
SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 1 SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 1
SMOOTHeR CHANNeL SURFING
GAP InC.’S CROSS-PROMOTInG GIFT CARdS
Not every multi-brand CHAnnELInG COnSISTEnCY
company has a customer
More and more retailers have discovered the benefits
that shops more than
of driving customers online, yet there is monumental
one of its divisions. progress to be made when retail store executives are
Companies that do can still viewing their own web site as a competitive threat .
benefit from making If the only option to promoting your site is a window
cross-brand shopping sticker in stores announcing “Shop Online 24/7,” then,
easy. each Gap division yes, sales may be the only thing customers think your
offered gift cards (both site is good for . It takes broader thinking to embrace the
brand-specific and fact that sales goals should transcend channels . Ideas,
multibrand) for each of inspiration, comparisons and product information are all
its three big sites—Gap, tools customers can use online before making a purchase
in store . With Jupiter Research estimating that by 2011
Banana Republic and
Pick a card: OLdnAvY.COM
nearly half of all U .S . retail sales will be transacted online
Old navy. Available all
or influenced by internet research, a united front across
season long, and done perhaps in an effort to boost lagging sales, the entire business will allow channels to complement
the transparency meant convenience for the cross-brand customer. each other, not compete .
WILLIAMS-SOnOMA’S WRAP UP
Williams-Sonoma stores delighted customers with several pre-
wrapped items for ready-to-give convenience. Online, however,
LOOkInG BACk: OUR 1999 HOLIdAY STUdY
the same items would have cost a $5 premium to look as nice.
That lack of consistency was frustrating, especially when one The sophistication of today’s multi-channel experience demonstrates that
channel set the bar high, and another failed to clear it. traditional retailers (those who started out as a store or catalog) have expertly
reclaimed the edge they lost early on to nimble pure players—Internet-only shops.
This holiday, the six best total online shopping
experiences were delivered by Internet-only
retailers, displacing retail industry behemoths
such as Walmart.com, disneyStore.com,
nike.com, and Toysrus.com.
— E-Commerce Watch 1999
Wrapped and ready: WILLIAMS-SOnOMA.COM
SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 1 SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 15
the lines of communication open. Customers disappointed with the
promotion were free to leave comments saying so, without diminishing
the program’s popularity.
Another important consumer control came in the form of product views,
and the retailers who get it, got it big time this year. Eddie Bauer not only
let consumers choose multiple views, but edited available views by product
0 A SHIFT IN CONTROL
at the index page level, anticipating what customers would want to see.
When customers rolled over dresses, the images transformed to show the
back view. When browsing T-shirts, shoppers could preview the available
color range. Newcomer shoe retailer Piperlime’s thoughtful array of shoe
views (matched only by the post-holiday launch of Amazon.com venture
Endless.com) made it easy to forget the computer screen that stood
between customers and the adorable patent leather platforms.
The baseline for the customer experience has increased
dramatically in ten years of E-Commerce Watch studies. Consumer-generated product
Consumers went from asking retailers whether they could pay reviews moved beyond electronics-
online to asking themselves which payment option they’d prefer. related sites to become a key
In addition, customers can now determine when to ship orders, decision-making feature. Macy’s
and—in some bold instances—which items go on sale. even offered an incentive to leave
Rating apparel: MACYS.COM feedback with a sweepstakes entry.
Amazon.com pioneered with its “Customers Vote” campaign, evolving its everyday capabilities,
which let shoppers vote on their favorite of four items to Amazon.com’s flexibility to allow readers to rate, sort and verify ratings
be promoted at a upped the trust and relevance of feedback substantially. Unfortunately,
shockingly low price, while cross-category product selling, mobile marketing, customized gifts
for later purchase. and RSS feeds were forecasted in years past to become highlights, all
Interestingly, it shifted lacked prominence this year, leaving customers with fewer unique options.
to an experience that
lacked control, as the Viral campaigns invited us to stay, play and pass it on, although in the
number of users trying case of Office Max’s 0 unique microsites, felt like more of a distraction
to buy the chosen item from the fact that the brand didn’t have much else to promote.
crashed the site. In the (Although we will admit to spending entirely too much time “elfing”
end, it was quite literally ourselves with the photo-on-a-dancing-elf animation.)
a game of chance,
with a lottery system
implemented to give
the lucky few the deal
of the season. However,
Rocking the vote: AMAzOn.COM Amazon.com kept
SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 16 SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 17
A SHIFT IN CONTROL
HAnd OvER THE kEYS
The line between internet-empowered consumers and In our first study ten years ago, we noted that online gift wrap
the companies they interact with has blurred . Moving options were limited, and a decade later not much has changed.
forward the most successful companies will be those While in the years in-between, customers were offered multiple
that share brand ownership with their consumers . In fact, gift wrap options, this year choice was once again limited. Crate
many consumers already interact with brands on a variety and Barrel went back to classic black and white, after offering
of levels—sanctioned or not (like SlaveToTarget .com, a more colorful choices last year. Target opted for silver. No one
blog created and run by customers) . gave shoppers a meaningful choice of gift wrap—not even those
retailers who readily offered up a dozen or more gift card designs.
Opening the brand to customers can be as simple as
Ten months out of the year, we’re inclined to agree with the
frictionless transactions and alternate payment options
operational decision to limit gift wrap. But at this business-critical
or as complex as consumer-generated media and time of year, a choice may be in order. While RedEnvelope’s
crowdsourcing . Openness is something brands must classic red box and white bow is appropriate for the holidays and
understand, embrace and leverage . In Open Branding, beyond, Amazon.com’s light green paper felt more like spring.
our latest Thought Leadership initiative and forthcoming And if all other control-enhancing tactics are logistical nightmares,
book (Summer 2007), we examine the benefits of being moving the gift message from the packing slip (as seen with
an open brand and the pitfalls of being closed, and lay out Urban Outfitters and Piperlime) to a gift enclosure would be a
a strategic framework for how to engage the consumer . tremendous (and long-overdue) start.
LOOkInG BACk: OUR 1999 HOLIdAY STUdY
Control has long been a theme in analyzing the online customer experience, but
while customers today expect to influence their shopping trip from start to finish,
in 1999 having control meant substantially less.
The best practices to date put customers
in charge of their online experience by Seeing green: AMAzOn.COM
providing adequate opt-ins and opt-outs.
However, consumers should have the option
to purchase as a registered member or shop
anonymously without account information Impressed with thoughtful embellishments,
being saved. if not choices: AnTHROPOLOGIE.COM
— E-Commerce Watch 1999
SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 1 SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 19
LeARNING TO LeVeRAGe ReTROSPeCTIVe
So what’s next? While we saw some retailers trying new
things this season, the majority of sites we audited lacked true
originality—original content, offerings, tools and services. We
want to see brands take advantage and even push the limits
of technology to deepen customer relationships. We want to
be inspired, surprised and delighted in 007. Be the site your
customer is looking for.
A decade ago, consumers were just beginning to
9 Take cues from the customers’ in-store experience. dabble online via 2800-baud modems, Amazon .com
Consider rich internet applications (RIA) that allow for better was a bookstore and Google (well, googol) was just a
visualization and customization—bring the product to life. number . That was when Resource Interactive President
kelly Mooney decided we should get smarter about the
9 Make the connection from search to store seamless. opportunities for our clients to sell their products online .
Leverage search engines through keyword-rich copy and
relevant page titles. Since then, we’ve spent thousands of hours browsing,
buying, returning, calling and emailing . We’ve seen
9 Bundle thoughtful gifts, including cross-category items that
e-retailers do it all . And we leveraged our learnings to
complement each other. even better, include a loadable gift
educate associates, fuel Thought Leadership and guide
card with every purchase to encourage additional site visits
our clients .
and provide customers with a convenient last-minute gift.
9 Allow customers to check site and store inventory levels. To commemorate a decade of brilliance and blunders,
If an item is available in store only, help shoppers find the we’ve highlighted hurdles the industry has cleared,
nearest store that still has it in stock. snapshots that capture today’s online experience and
innovations that will shape the blueprint for tomorrow .
9 Provide updates via RSS and even mobile communication Like any good history lesson, we hope this leaves
for consumers willing to opt-in (likely your best and most you with a better appreciation of the past and an
loyal customers). enlightened perspective on the future .
9 Don’t assume that an “abandoned” cart equals a lost
customer. Remind them of items left there, update them if
the price has changed and alert them when inventory is low.
9 Develop a comprehensive shopping experience for the
customer who visits only during the holidays, as well as the
one who is with you year ‘round.
Until next year, have a happy and prosperous new year!
SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 0 SPECIAL FOCUS: Holiday Gifting Trends 1
One Brand, Signs of Trust Help is Here Tell Me More
Many Channels Initially, fear and doubt kept FAQs. email forms. Toll-free Retailers’ desire for consumers’
The importance of bricks versus consumers from buying online but numbers. Live chat. So many ways personal information and the
clicks continues to be debated, best practices for safe shopping for consumers to find answers. technology to collect and store
but the reality, of course, is that no made e-commerce an everyday And after a decade of asking, it has persisted over time. The
matter how a company views its convenience. we’re starting to get faster, more value is in what retailers do with
channels, customers see one brand. relevant responses. the information.
When asked, “Do you
sell this item on your web The threat of credit card Customers waited hours
Retailers’ data collection
site?”, a store employee, fraud and identity theft to get a unique response
efforts served their needs
with the brand URL were barriers to making to their email inquiries, if
more than the consumer’s.
emblazoned on his shirt, purchases online. they were answered at all.
offered a blank stare.
SSL technology and
While brand web sites are well-written, easy-to-
consumers to share
starting to show evidence find company policies Live chat makes
personal information by
of integration, stores ease shoppers’ minds, customer service faster
using it to enhance and
and catalogs still do little while consumer and more human.
customize the customers’
reciprocal reinforcement. recommendations are a
key trust factor.
On THE HORIzOn
On THE HORIzOn
On THE HORIzOn
On THE HORIzOn
communication and Specialized customer
Store employees will
consumer-generated service advisors—from the Brands anticipate
enhance the brand
content—including ratings, brand or the community of consumers’ needs and
experience by taking
reviews, testimonials shoppers—will be ready to become virtual personal
shoppers online to close
and open forums—are share expertise via email, shoppers.
(and save) the sale.
the quintessential trust phone or chat.
builders for online brands.
SPECIAL FOCUS: Restrospective SPECIAL FOCUS: Retrospective
The Tools to Choose Giftable Cards Follow-Through Measures of Success
The web brought a world Moving out from behind their eager to sell online, but lacking Since our first study in 1997, we’ve
of options to consumers reputation as the I-don’t-know-you- basic fulfillment capabilities, brick- seen e-commerce evolve from an
everywhere—overcoming well-enough-to-buy-you-a-real-gift and-mortar retailers are now taking unemotional, isolated transaction
geographical boundaries. But stigma, gift cards have skyrocketed cues from catalogers to meet to a frictionless, inspiring and
without the right decision support in popularity and evolved into the consumers’ delivery expectations. empowering experience that
tools, more choice can also be highly sought-after present for the leaves consumers eager to
more trouble. holidays and beyond. reconnect with a brand.
Premiering online as
A single, static product paper certificates or
The shock of gifts not
view and a list of product e-codes, gift cards Success was measured
arriving in time to get
attributes were all that were first available by the number of new
under the tree—or at
customers were given to in predetermined customers and dollars
distinguish one product denominations and spent online.
from another. redeemable only in
Sophisticated filtering order-status updates Success is measured by
and available in fun,
tools and multiple product and tracking services dollars spent online with
customizable formats, gift
views help shoppers to boost consumer consideration for customer
cards can be redeemed,
narrow choices and sort confidence and ensure satisfaction, interaction
registered and reloaded in
through them. on-time—and even time and repeat visits.
On THE HORIzOn
On THE HORIzOn
On THE HORIzOn
On THE HORIzOn
Retailers offer more Success will be measured
Ongoing two-way Retailers will include consumer choices for by the quality of the
dialogues between loadable gift cards delivery, including experience, the degree to
brands and consumers will with purchases to scheduled ship dates, which consumers interact
result in the option to view provide additional, in-store pick-up options, with and impact the brand,
tailored assortments. instant gift options. and hassle-free, cost- and the web’s contribution
free returns. to overall sales.
SPECIAL FOCUS: Retrospective SPECIAL FOCUS: Retrospective 5
The interactive world has come a long way.
And we’ve been here through it all. Our favorite
moments from over the years are plentiful, but here are just a few highlights
(or mishaps) for your added enjoyment. Cheers to ten more amazing years
of studying, influencing and improving the e-commerce experience!
YOUR InBOx CLOSEd WASTEd TIME: dOn’T MISS EARPLUGS PLEASE: PAUSE-And-PLAY:
IS FULL: CHECkOUT LAnE: A dETAIL:
jcrew.com (‘99) Amazon.com gave Best Buy, L.L.Bean
American Greetings Using the back and Blue nile (‘00) eToys.com offered toy buyers fair and Gap incorporated
sent us an individual button during failed to remember the appropriate size warning by providing the same “save for
email confirmation Lands’ End checkout account info upon batteries for selected noise samples . later” convenience
for each and every emptied our return visits . toys at checkout . that we fell in love
item in our order. shopping cart . with on Amazon.com .
’9 ’9 ’99-‘00 ’99 ’99 ’05
TRY YOUR LUCk: PLEASE STOP EvERYOnE WInS: EARLY GIFTInG:
Sears.com warned 800.com encouraged Amazon.com and
shoppers that the Ashford.com consumer-generated firstname.lastname@example.org
“image shown displayed return content by entering let customers pick
may differ from policy in ALL CAPS authors of product the exact day e-gift
actual product with textual errors . reviews into a $2,500 certificates were to
appearance .” shopping spree be sent .
’00 ’00 ’00 ’00
ALL OR nOTHInG: TOO LITTLE FOURTH TIME’S SAvE TIME: WAkE-UP CALL: SAY CHEESE:
TOO LATE: A CHARM: Target jump-started
Barnesandnoble.com Gifts.com reminded Circuit City and
said if we wanted to Toysrus.com delivered Egifts.com site us about stored Black Friday shopping Wal-Mart offered
gift-wrap one item in our “in-stock” Furby continually crashed dates and recipient with an early morning personalized photo
our order we had to on January 27—after in ’98 . It took us profiles to prompt phone call from the gift cards.
gift-wrap everything . we had already taken four tries before we our gift giving, consumer’s choice of
down our tree . could order! as well as help us celebrities .
manage it .
’99 ’00 ’9 ’05 ‘0-’05 ’05
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