Online Sales Expected To Grow 17 Percent

Online spending is expected to rise a robust 17% this year, despite a sluggish economy that has bruised many brick-based retailers.  With sales expected to top $204 billion this year, it seems the Internet is the continual rising star for the retail industry. To capture the dollars this year will require more sophisticated marketing efforts.

Growth Categories

Apparel, computers and autos top the list of the online sales categories.  Most shoppers use the internet to either shop for the best deal or take advantage of the convenience associated with online shopping.  With the number of new online users beginning to decline slightly, companies are being forced to find new ways to reach online shoppers.  It seems this year it is going to take more than free shipping to get shoppers to swipe their cards more often.

Social Networks To Build Brand

Companies are beginning to see the importance of the internet marketing.  According to the State of Retailing Online 2008: Marketing report done by Forrester Research, Inc. businesses are  spending over 53 percent of their marketing budgets on online customer acquisitions and 21 percent of their budgets on customer retention.  This is going to be crucial to ringing up more cash. Growth will need to come from getting more sales from existing customers and first time buyers.  

Businesses are also embracing Social Computing initiatives as 55 percent of retailers said that social network advertising, such as Face Book, You Tube, Forums and Widgets would be categories of increased focus this year. While Social Computing initiatives are more useful for brand building than driving sales, other forms of online marketing such as email and free shipping promotions are investments proven to drive sales.

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