Victoria retailers prepare for online sales and marketing opportunities

Victoria websites and Victoria online retailers is getting a second Boxing Day, just a couple months earlier, sort of.

Canadian bargain hunters will be seeking out bargains south and north of the border on November 29, when stores and online shopping websites in Canada will be competing for customers accustomed to the huge retail day that traditionally follows US Thanksgiving. Victoria retailers and online retailers hope to be inundated by deal-loving shoppers looking for the most current, cheap fashions and trendy winter clothing and beauty products.victoria_ecommerece_websites

Canadians will be searching the malls and Google for deals that rival Boxing Day. Online shopping websites featuring cheap purses, jeans, sweaters, scarves, coats, shoes and gloves are among the most popular during past Black Fridays. Expect this trend to continue and expand to Canada.

Victoria ecommerce and Victoria online retailers need to ensure their company, products and services are indexed and found on the major search engines including Google, Bing and Yahoo to tap into this market. And, most importantly, Victoria online retailers have to ensure the brand names they carry, including Coach, Burberry, Dolce and Gabbana and others, are found by aspiring customers at their place of business and their website.

Google and Ipsos Reid report that more Canadians will shop for Christmas gifts online this year than ever before.

According to the report, Over Black Friday (Nov. 29) and Cyber Monday (Dec. 2), more people plan to shop exclusively online (42 per cent) than exclusively in stores (33 per cent).

The remaining 25 per cent will use shop both online and in-store for gifts  - more than double the proportion of Canadians who said the same last year.

However, Christmas budgets are down 11.5 per cent over Christmas 2012, with shoppers' intended holiday spending dropping to $629 from $711, on average.

""Consumers are generally more conscious this year of value and budget,"" said Alexandra Cohn, principal analyst for retail and technology at Google Canada. ""But we know retailers are cautiously optimistic that sales will remain flat.""

Other highlights from the October 26 report include:

  • Although just two in 10 presents will be purchased online, nearly nine in 10 Canadians (87 per cent) will use at least one online source during the shopping process to research deals, read product reviews or compare store prices.
  • There has been 44 per cent year-over-year growth in search terms surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • Mobile searches on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are up 113 per cent.
  • Half of Canadians plan to use their phones as part of the shopping process - up seven points from 2012.

""This is going to be the biggest online Christmas ever - and I don't just mean ecommerce,"" said Rafe Petkovic, head of industry-retail for Google Canada. ""(The Internet) is an increasingly crucial part of Canadians' purchase decision process.""

More than seven in 10 shoppers will purchase gift cards, with dining/entertainment, department store, clothing store and bookstore cards proving the most popular.

In terms of electronics, 35 per cent plan to buy tablets, up from 26 per cent last year; 27 per cent are likely to buy smartphones, up from 21 per cent; and 27 per cent are eyeing gaming systems, up from 25 per cent.

As for when Canadians will be shopping, just 25 per cent won't finish until the last minute. The share of consumers who plan to shop during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, meanwhile, has more than doubled: 37 per cent of consumers, versus just 16 per cent last year.

So, you are a Victoria BC business owner and you have just embarked on a corporate web development project. Your web developer has produced a marvellous wire frame web design that captures the essence of your business perfectly. Your business website has the right layout, colours, images and text. Perfect. You pull the development site up on Firefox and everything works great, looks great and hums along nicely.

While it is still very early, anecdotal evidence suggests the BlackBerry Z10 is selling well in the United Kingdom since hitting the shelves the last week of January.

Investors seem impressed, boosting. The BlackBerry company's shares (TSX:BB) more than 15 per cent on Feb. 4, moving ahead $1.98 to close at $14.99 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

According to news stories, lineups were forming at U.K. stores with widespread sell outs of the white Z10 and limited stock of the black Z10.

The BlackBerry company (formerly known as Research In Motion) is scrambling to recover lost ground in the smart phone market. So far, it has enjoyed a large number of positive reviews for the Z10, its new touchscreen phone. A keypad version is expected to launch in April.

The Canadian launch was on Feb. 5 and will enter U.S. stores in March. Victoria smartphone retailers appear enthusiastic about the arrival of the Z10 with many reporting strong pre-launch interest from Victoria business people and recreational users alike.