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Online consumerism is continuing to grow according to new research; as a result the number of people performing online retail searches, especially on smartphones, has risen dramatically.
The Online Retail Monitor conducted by British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Google has revealed that total retail search volume grew by 27% in Q2 2011, compared to the same quarter in 2010. The driving force behind this increase was in fact mobile search volumes, which have risen by a staggering 216% year on year.
The retail sector has endured a difficult period with the financial downturn; you only have to look up and down the high streets of any UK town or city to the see the effects this has had. However the rise of the online retail sector has bucked this trend.
Many multi channel retailers (those with stores and the internet) as well pure online retailers have enjoyed this growth, with a 14% and 21% rise in search volumes respectively. Stephen Robinson, Director General of the BRC said, “While the retail sector as a whole is going through a difficult period, the boom in online retail continues.”
What’s even more interesting and pleasing for UK exporters is the news that overseas consumers searching for UK retailers grew by 34% year on year. This highlights the importance of having an online presence, not just for UK consumers, but to expand your reach globally. Likewise, the number of UK consumers searching overseas for products actually grew even more, 76% compared to the same period in 2010.
The biggest winner and driving force behind this growth was the overwhelming increase in mobile retail searches. A 216% rise year on year is no mean feat, and this highlights the popularity of smartphones and tablets which have proliferated over the last few years.
Peter Fitzgerald, Retail Director at Google explained that mobile search remained constant despite seasonal temperatures which usually affect search volumes, “[mobile search] was largely unaffected by the changing temperatures. This is unsurprising given the ‘always on’ nature of mobile users.”
These figures adhere to the suggestion that mobile marketing should be the focus of many website owners selling products or services [See: Time to Take Mobile Marketing Seriously], especially given that 28% of all internet browsing is carried out on a smartphone.
These figures should give anyone selling a product or service the impetus to develop their online presence, for standard searches and for mobile searches. If not, you won’t be taking advantage of all that extra traffic that’s out there.
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In today’s multichannel world, there are mountains of data which provide insights into how users have interacted with your business and their path to conversion (or non-conversion). It is important to understand performance with multichannel marketing, which can be achieved through attribution modelling. Attribution refers to assigning credit to something (a channel, touchpoint, etc.) for the role it played in the final conversion. An attribution model is a rule, or set of rules, that assigns this credit correctly to the right channel or touchpoint.
For a long time, Bing, the UK’s second-largest search engine, has been underappreciated and, in some instances, even ignored. Often regarded as the inferior search engine to market leader Google, Bing has historically struggled to appeal to many in the digital world. Most PPC analysts would give justified reasons for neglecting Bing for so long; these include the volume of traffic and the user experience just not matching up to Google. However, the validity of these assessments is now diminishing. Bing has grown and improved rapidly in the last couple of years; if you are not integrating it into your comprehensive digital marketing plan, you run the risk of missing out on a large portion of your chosen market and significant revenue.