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Holiday 2011 Run-Up: Continued Learning From Google's 2010 Data

Search has become a natural part of the everyday consumer buying cycle. Consumers want to be informed, save time, and above all not be disappointed with their purchase. Search gives them all that, even when it comes to buying jewelry.

According to Google Think Insights, the average consumer will spend 11 days researching jewelry before making a purchase. Although not all research was entirely online, 91% of those surveyed said they started their research online and then followed through with going to the store in person or returning to the website on their PC at a later date.

For 2010, consumers reported that the most important source for their online research was a brick and mortar store's website, followed by e-tailer online websites. Search engines ranked at #3 for the source of online information. Many retail jewelers have not embraced the newer internet technologies and website features that consumers expect. 44% of those surveyed said the brick and mortar store's website was the most important source for pre-purchase information. Naturally to us this means website updates and maintenance should be given the largest portion of your marketing budget.

Other important sources for online information included:
* Emails
* Brand Websites
* Coupon Sites
* Social Networking
* Online Review Sites

Google's 2010 holiday data also included a lot of mobile statistics. Mobile searches during the holiday season have increased 300% each year since 2008. Consumers expect a convenient and friendly mobile website which means you not only need a mobile website, but you also need to optimize your mobile site for mobile action keywords.

Google Think Insights says the following percentages of smartphone users performed these actions during the holiday 2010 season:
27% compared prices
23% read reviews
21% read general product information
21% located a retailer they were interested in purchasing from
20% looked for promotions or coupons
18% called a retailer after finding the mobile website
16% searched a store for available inventory

In 2010, according to Google Think Insights, many mobile users took advantage of the convenience of search on their smartphone, then continued a more in depth search on their PC or simply went into the store.

Jewelers should embrace mobile websites as a tool that aids and attracts consumers. Unfortunately, many retailers have told us they fear the idea of smartphone price comparisons by consumers while standing in a competing jewelry store. We'd like to counter this fear by saying shoppers expect convenience, and you will gain customers who find you easier to buy from.

Interestingly enough, there was a small percentage of people who actually purchased from their smartphone during the 2010 season. According to Google Think Insights, 41% of smartphone users that used mobile search also made purchases on their phone. Within that group, 8% of purchases were from jewelry stores.

Let's use real numbers to better understand the idea of mobile commerce, or m-commerce for short. If 1000 people used their phones for search, only 410 of them actually purchased the item they searched for. Of that 410, only 8% (or 32 people) bought jewelry.

BlueNile was the biggest leader in mobile commerce in the jewelry industry and we can only assume that they cornered the mobile jewelry market in 2010. The leading industry for m-commerce sales is Entertainment followed closely by Electronics and then Clothing. Since the jewelry industry is much slower to adopt technology, we expect that 8% to grow quickly once more retail jewelers catch up.

We know that many independent retail jewelers do not use coupons or discounting as part of their normal retail strategy. In fact, many buying groups and business consulting firms teach retail jewelers that sales and discounting can hurt their business. We don't want to necessarily disagree with the no-sales or no-discounting idea; however, we'd like to present the numbers and simply let them speak for themselves.

Just like a well-trained Pavlov's Dog, shoppers are accustomed to react to specific, well-known offers and promotions. According to Google Think Insights, consumers had the following to say:

* Took advantage of discounts or sales in 2010: 89%
* Took advantage of discounts or sales in 2008: 86%
* Took advantage of free shipping in 2010: 75%
* Took advantage of free shipping in 2008: 75%
* Took advantage of purchase incentives in 2010: 68%
* Took advantage of purchase incentives in 2008: 69%
* Took advantage of coupons in 2010: 67%
* Took advantage of coupons in 2008: 66%

Google also reported that searches using the word "coupon" jump up 38% during the Holiday Season. For you, this means you need to use the word "coupons" in your website copy.

Keep your eye on this active Google Insights link for this holiday season. This will show you the jewelry trends as they are happening:

As of today, this active link is reporting rising searches for "amber" but that seems to be erroneously associated with "amber cole" currently in the news. We also see that "engagement rings" are the 8th most popular jewelry related search phrase right now.

When looking at the Google Insights page you should pay attention to the Column that shows Rising Searches. This is where you will find new ideas to use quickly in your email campaigns.

The phrase "October birthstone" is on the rise, naturally, but so is "cushion cut diamond" with a 70% increase. If anyone knows why cushion cut diamond are suddenly popular please post it to our Facebook page.

On the holiday Insights page, you will also see a 350% rise for the phrase "bling ring." We just did a little back checking on that phrase and realized the popularity is due to the Lifetime movie "Bling Ring" which aired on September 27, 2011.

A quick Google search shows us that "bling ring" doesn't produce many results for jewelry stores. Now, we're not saying YOU should call your jewelry store a seller of "BLING" (That word really makes us think we are living in an Italian ethnic suburb. Oh wait, we actually are! 37.2% Italian ancestry in our town.) but perhaps you could use phrases like "not the typical bling ring" or "bling ring for the elite" on your website or in today's blog post.

Why do we want you to do this? Because that 350% rise is from people searching for luxury goods and jewelry, not TV movies. The TV movie and the surrounding press from the original Bling Ring robbery and court case is creating a bleed over interest in jewelry.

So write a blog post today, or put something up on your website using the phrase. You could also send out your next email making reference to that Lifetime movie or just the suggested phrases above. This allows you to tap into current Top of Mind Awareness (i.e. branding) that you didn't need to pay for.

For another good example of this, think back to our previous Nugget about Lucy on August 9, 2011:

Let's not bury the lead in today's Run-Up Nugget. You need to bookmark this link and keep looking at it every few days from now through December 31, 2011. Every time you see something interesting, use the little exercise above to guide your own actions.

Ciao for now!
AT: 10/25/2011 01:27:42 PM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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