Black Friday 2009: Bing Cashback Bumps, Users Searching For Deals

It could be that the general state of the 2009 economy is fueling the increase in early search queries for “Black Friday” related terms, or it it could be that the retail industry as a whole have embraced the annual event as part of a clever marketing strategy to boost overall holiday sales. As you can see from the Google Trends data below, the increase in usage since the advent of “Black Friday” has grown exponentially. In 2009, consumers began flocking to the Web earlier than ever to search for Black Friday deals, although it’s difficult to see in the graph below, the uptick does begin slightly earlier.

According to Nielson, week-over-week traffic to sites teasing consumers early with Black Friday deals has increased 87 percent, from 3.8 million unique visitors during the week ending Nov. 8 to 7.0 million during the week ending Nov. 15.

Black Friday Google search trends since 2005

Black Friday Google search trends since 2005

Nielson also reported that during the last weeks of October and early weeks of November, the number of unique visitors to the top Web sites offering previews of Black Friday sales, such as bfads.net, has quickly been increasing. Hitwise / Experian released similar numbers for the pre-Thanksgiving week, with overall traffic to Black Friday websites up 4%, compared to the same week in 2008.

Last week the percentage of referred traffic from Black Friday Websites to the top 500 retail Websites increased 12 percent versus the previous week. The percentage of referred traffic is up 14 percent when comparing the week ending Nov. 21, 2009, with the same week in 2008. (Full details…)

Since Black Friday has become the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season, both multi-channel retailers and online only retailers have embraced it, as well as Cyber Monday, the first Monday immediately following Black Friday has also developed a similar following for users searching for gift giving deals on the Web.

Despite Cyber Monday’s growing popularity, as reported in our recent article, Practical Tips to Prepare for Cyber Monday, neither it, nor Black Friday is even the biggest online shopping day of the year:”For most online retailers, the bigger spending day of the season to date was way back on Nov. 22, three days before Black Friday. What’s more, most e-tailers say the season’s top spending day comes much later, between around Dec. 5 and Dec. 15.”

Are retailers ready for the onslaught?

According to a recent study conducted by the website monitoring company Uptrends, there were indications that many online retailers are experiencing significant amounts of time when their websites are not accessible.  For a 30 day period leading up to  “Black Friday“,  Uptrends monitored the home page of 100 of the most popular e-commerce sites and determined that a significant number of companies were still experiencing periods of downtime that were excessive in some cases.

In the overall study results, almost half of the websites monitored experiencd some level of downtime, with only 55 of the 100 companies showing a 100% uptime for the length of the 30 day study.  24 of the websites had downtime between 99.90% and 99.99% and 21 websites were below 99.6% uptime.  As a point of reference, a website with uptime of 99.5% still has downtime of 3 hours and 36 minutes over the span of 30 days.

Biggest losers? Results from the 30-day study:

Company Home Page

# of Page Errors

Down time

Crutchfield Corporation

61

5 hours, 7.5 mins.

Fry’s Electronic’s

43

3 hours, 39.8 mins.

The Kitchen Collection

40

3 hours 38.3 mins.

Sears Canada

33

2 hours 59.5 mins

Fred Meyer Stores

27

2 hours 41.2 mins.

Car Toys

12

1 hour 16.5 mins.

SkyMall

11

1 hour 16.4 mins.

GameStop

12

58.9 min.

Brookstone

11

56.6 min.

PC Mall

6

35.3 min.

Many retailers might also be fearful of higher shopping cart abandonment rates throughout the 2009 holiday season, and is part of the reason Black Friday deals are increasing in number. According to  SeeWhy, a company which  tracks shopping cart abandonment rates across a wide variety of ecommerce sites,  abandonment rates have  steadily increased “in 2009 as the holiday season gets into full swing. For October 2009, the average shopping cart abandonment rate was at 71 percent, the highest this year so far.”

Bing Shopping retailers boost Cashback offers

As announced last Friday on the Bing blog, many Bing Shopping retailers are increasing their Cashback offers up to 35% starting on Black Friday, November 27th, and will run the additional cashback offers for a limited time.

According to a Microsoft official:

When purchased through the Bing cashback program, savings range from 5 to 35 percent cashback from retailers such as Macy’s, Sears, The Gap, AT&T, Walmart, eBay, HP and many more. Of note, Macy’s is offering 10%, Home Depot 8% and Dell 20% in cash back savings.

The increase in Bing Cashback offers was somewhat expected to return for the 2009 holiday shopping season, after Bing Shopping traffic grew as a result of the Double Cashback period during the Back-to-School shopping season.

Related Topics: Channel: Retail | Microsoft: Bing Shopping & Cashback | Search Marketing: Shopping Search Marketing | Stats: Search Behavior | Top News

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About The Author: is Director of Audience Development for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. She is responsible for increasing readership through owned, earned and paid media channels. In addition, she assists in programming sessions at Third Door Media's Search Marketing Expo conference series and manages speaking engagements for editorial staff. Follow her on Twitter @elisabethos.

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