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Christmas search traffic to skyrocket: Google

Google expects shopping-related search traffic to skyrocket in the lead-up to Christmas, as Australians do their online research before heading to stores or placing orders online.

The findings come from Google research into consumer shopping habits based on its search traffic patterns, designed to keep retailers on track over the Christmas shopping period.

Searches for Christmas specific items are up year over year in all major retail categories, with mass merchant retail searches up 47 percent, followed by food and drink, and toys.

Google suggests that retailers advertising online make sure they’re ready for the uptake in traffic, with many Google advertisers having exhausted their normal daily search ads budgets in previous years only a third of the way into a trading day.

Google head of retail Ross McDonald said businesses must have a strategic and long-term approach to the Christmas period.

“Last year, we saw some major retail advertisers miss 80 percent of their potential search traffic because their daily ad budgets were the same as the middle of the year. That’s like forgetting to put your most popular product out on shelves during the busiest season of the year.”

Important dates for businesses to remember this season include December 4, when shipping windows for international online retailers typically close and searches for domestic retailers rise, as well as December 11, when searches for store names plus ‘trading hours’ and ‘location’ begin to rise. These searches are already up 37 percent on last year with over a third of these searches coming from a mobile device.

December 16 is the final date to remember, as it represents the last day local retailers can guarantee delivery before Christmas and the last in-store retail weekend before December 25.

Retailers also need to think about where to advertise and what message works best, anticipating when their customers will be looking for gifts or for stores and adjusting their online budgets accordingly.

All businesses should be ready with mobile-friendly websites that prominently display opening hours and store locations, especially in the two weeks leading up to Christmas.

Bunnings GM of marketing and merchandising, Clive Duncan says the retailer first launched the mobile version of it website 12 months ago as a response to changing consumer trends.

“We see online and digital platforms as a great way to provide practical solutions for our customers by helping them with a wide range of information. Additional tools that we have available include QR codes and iPhone apps.”

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Maree Sorbello

Maree Sorbello

Maree is a first year student at Sydney's University of Technology, and is one of Dynamic Business' star interns.

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