At Linenplace, we try to be as accurate as we possibly can when describing our products - and we test nearly everything ourselves before we put it up on the site. We also have our buyer review each sheet set. When customers call us with questions, they also speak with either myself or another employee well-versed in the linens world, not a customer service rep reading from a script.\
New York, NY (PRWEB) January 31, 2007
Several online market surveys conducted by research firms show that Internet spending around gift-giving holidays is up, and Valentine\'s Day is no exception. As the 2006 holiday shopping season comes to a close, retailers look towards Valentine\'s Day as the next big gift-giving occasion of the New Year. For those stores not offering traditional gifts like flowers and gift cards, efforts are made to attract consumers with unique gift ideas and the added convenience of online shopping.
The Internet has been directly and indirectly responsible for nearly $300 billion in consumer spending in the last year. Not only do more people make more of their purchases online, but consumers are also researching products online before they buy them at physical stores, (according to the findings from a survey conducted by the Dieringer Research Group in Milwaukee).
The study, and others like it, has found that one of the main driving forces behind the online shopping trend is convenience. Consumers like to be able to quickly compare prices and read reviews by other consumers before committing to a purchase.
Last year, shopping trend data compiled by PayPal showed that online sales for the first two weeks of February increased 23% from 2005, with the majority of sales attributed to candy, jewelry and flowers.
In another 2006 survey conducted by the research and marketing company Questus, half of respondents said they would spend more on Valentine\'s Day gifts because of the Internet. Two-fifths of respondents claimed that if it weren\'t for online shopping, they wouldn\'t give Valentine\'s Day gifts at all. Forty percent of all Valentine gift-buyers said they would find their gifts online, and 20% who said they would shop in physical stores planned to do online research beforehand.
The same survey also showed that a majority of people would buy a greater variety of gifts if they shopped online, although flowers, chocolate/candy and jewelry/watches still made the top of the list.
Another Questus survey conducted in November of 2006 showed that a significant portion of online shoppers preferred websites that changed their appearance to reflect the holiday spirit. Google, the oft-used search engine, is known for tailoring their logo to match various holidays and occasions.
Many online retailers are taking advantage of these trends by courting Valentine\'s Day shoppers in early February. Linenplace.com, an online luxury bed and bath linens store on the Web since 2000, has caught the love bug by \'decorating\' its homepage for the amorous holiday and offering gift suggestions.
Asked about why Linenplace.com chose to focus on Valentine\'s Day when they don\'t sell conventional gifts like chocolates, Ms. Heather Young, Vice President, explains: \"While few people wouldn\'t be pleased by the usual fare of candy and stuffed bears, we think people should consider breaking with tradition and surprising their loved one with a luxurious bathrobe or beautiful sateen sheet set. Plus, I can tell you from personal experience that bedding lasts much longer than a box of chocolates.\"
Online shopping has its downsides. Shoppers can be skeptical of online merchants they\'ve never shopped at before, as it can be hard to tell if the pictures accurately reflect the product, and if the store has a secure checkout or ships items promptly. How can online retailers combat shoppers\' natural fear of disappointing their Valentines? Surveys suggest in-depth product descriptions, customer and expert reviews, and the availability of customer service can help keep customers from turning to brick and mortar stores before finally making a purchase.
Ms. Young, like many who have been in the online business for years, is already aware of customer concerns: \"At Linenplace, we try to be as accurate as we possibly can when describing our products - and we test nearly everything ourselves before we put it up on the site. We also have our buyer review each sheet set. When customers call us with questions, they also speak with either myself or another employee well-versed in the linens world, not a customer service rep reading from a script.\"
The Internet is a major player in today\'s marketplace, not only as a convenient alternative to physical stores, but also as an influencer of shopping behavior. Online retailers are trying to stay on top of the trend by fine-tuning their sites to improve the customer experience.