Yesterday was Mega Monday, the biggest Internet shopping day in the calendar this year, when people all over the UK headed online to spend their money on Christmas presents and gifts in time for the 25th of December. Knowing that there was going to be a major spend for online consumers, not just in the UK but also in America, where it is known as Cyber Monday, Google updated their Product Search page to include more relevant information for those shopping and searching for the best deals.
In 2011, according to Centre for Retail Research, online sales reached £50.3 billion in the UK, a 14% increase compared to 2010. The market share for online transactions, browsing and shopping has increased over recent years as people feel more comfortable shopping on the Internet from their own home and there is also the additional benefit of taking the time to compare current prices on the market from a range of recognised companies.
With this in mind, and the current increase and surge in online shopping, Google introduced the additional features for the Product Search pages so that consumers can find the items they want at the best price. The main change comes from the ‘Best match’ feature, which essentially highlights a product the user is likely to be looking for in the results pages before the search is complete. You can also sort the products by popularity, read reviews about each item and find local stores which stock the product. Combing your local search efforts with ensuring that your current stock is featured in Google Products could now provide a major double benefit.
Mobile users are also able to access Mobile Product Search via Google’s Shopping tab. This allows consumers to compare the price of a product whilst out shopping in the stores, read online reviews and considerer alternative products for a similar or reduced price. The update comes at a time of the year when consumers are starting to buy products for Christmas in advance in an effort to avoid the last minute rush, although arguably there are some damaging implications for the high street stores as a result.
The high street stores have certainly felt the strain of the online retail market. In America, online consumers spent $816 million during Black Friday, an increase of $168m compared to $648m the previous year. Amazon, Apple and Best Buy all did particularly well out of the sales figures and accounted for a part of the increase from last year. Kindle sales have done very well this year and Amazon have stated that sales are four times more than they were last year, again highlighting the increase in online traffic.
In 2010 internet shoppers in America on Cyber Monday spent over $1 billion via online shopping, making it the highest grossing sales day in Internet history. Whilst we’re still awaiting confirmation of this year’s online sales, it looks extremely likely that all records will be smashed once again.