Not surprisingly, the Back-to-School shopping season expands beyond the summer months, beginning before Memorial Day and lasting all the way into September. When we spoke to consumers, we found that Back-to-School research spans evenly across these months, with 75% of shoppers yet to begin researching their purchases.

The majority of shoppers will purchase Back-to-School items beginning in July, with 41% of them purchasing in August.

As the back-to-school shopping season heats up, make sure to take advantage of sharp increases in consumer purchasing behavior in August.

Source: Google/OTX Back to School Pulse Check, May 2010.

Ring, ring! It’s the new cell phone shopper calling!

With over 450 mobile devices in North America and an average of 10 new phone launches each week, how do shoppers decide which phone is right for them? How do marketers influence these purchase decisions?

We’re excited to announce that Google and Compete recently completed their latest research study, Wireless Shopper 2.0, which covers the shifting cell phone marketplace, the rise of the smartphone and the role search plays in the purchase process.

Key consumer findings revealed that today’s wireless shoppers are:
  • Open to Switching: At the beginning of the purchase process, 42% did not have a a specific carrier preference, while 78% did not have an OEM preference
  • Reeled in by Features: 45% bought a new smartphone because they wanted more features, while 22% bought because they saw a new phone they “had to have”
  • Reliant on Search: 62% of consumers who searched for a newly launched mobile device purchased one, and the average consumer conducts 13 searches throughout the purchase process
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, these behavioral insights indicate the importance of having a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to bridge the gap between queries and sales. To do so, digital marketers should focus on:
  • Targeting the Entire Funnel: The purchase funnel is not as linear as it once was; query trends indicate that search is paying a central role throughout and that generic (non-branded) keyword are prevalent and convert, even at the end of the purchase process
  • Device-Centric Campaigns: Shoppers are searching online for everything to do with their wireless device: features, reviews, price, applications, etc. Optimize device-specific landing pages and integrate device-focused keywords and ad texts into campaigns
  • Leverage Search for Product Launches: Search is an effective tool for introducing new products to customer prospects, especially during the announcement and pre-launch face - don’t miss the opportunity to acquire new potential lifetime customers
For more insights into today’s Wireless Shopper 2.0, download the full study here.

Despite the groans of dads everywhere, the tie remains one of the most sought-after gifts this Father’s Day. But this year, golf clubs have snuck in and outranked neckwear in web searches to become this year’s must-have present.

The gift of good smell isn’t far behind, as many users are looking to buy cologne for dad. Much further down the list are more specific presents like a swiss army knife, or a beer of the month subscription.

With just days to go, and search volume in the shopping category historically peaking on Sunday as last minute shoppers seek out gifts, ensure any promotions, gift finders, or top last-minute gift suggestions are featured prominently on your site and in your ads.

Happy Father’s Day!

As we just announced, today we’re launching Google Commerce Search 2.0 for retailers in the US and UK. The new version of Google Commerce Search gives merchants greater control and a higher ROI - not to mention a better experience online for shoppers.

Google Commerce Search, initially launched just seven months ago, is an enterprise-grade website search solution hosted in Google’s cloud and designed for specific retail needs like parametric sorting and fast search result loading. This second release includes a number of improvements:

  • More merchant customization: Today we’re launching a full merchandising dashboard, giving merchants more control over promotions, ranking rules and filtering - with no custom code so marketers and product merchandisers can do all of this themselves. New intuitive retailer controls like time-based promotions, full left-hand panel facet control and simple product ranking rules mean seasonal optimization on the fly.
  • Unparalleled shopper experience: With query autocompletion, retailers can offer common queries to shoppers in real time, as they type, without any custom coding. Search quality improvements make GCS faster and more relevant than before. Because it’s hosted in the Google cloud, search results are returned to shoppers in less than a second. Spelling and stemming dictionaries and new custom synonyms mean that shopping on a retail site can be as easy and accurate as searching on
  • Better browsing and navigation: Though more and more shoppers are turning directly to the search bar on retail sites when they’re looking to make a purchase, some people will always prefer to navigate through different categories and discover new products. Now, Google Commerce Search allows visitors to shop by browsing around your site as well as searching directly for products.
To learn more about how improving the website search tool can increase conversions and sales, be sure to sign up for an upcoming webinar on June 23rd. If you're unable to make it, you can learn more and request a demo at

While students celebrate the return of carefree summer days, retailers are readying themselves for the start of the new school year. The start of 2010 saw impressive growth in back-to-school searches. In fact, ‘back-to-school’ queries increased 15% in popularity compared to the same period in 2008.

Searches for back-to-school shopping historically uptick in June and search activity lasts through late September.

As you prepare for the back-to-school season, keep in mind the growth and seasonality of online activity and plan campaigns accordingly.

Christmas in June? Though the winter holidays are still months away, it's time to prepare for the busiest shopping season of the year. Today we bring you a few of our top insights from the 2009 season to help prepare you for 2010.

1. Consumers Start Early: 44% of shoppers had already started their holiday shopping and researching as of August last year.
2. Coupons & Promos Are Here To Stay: Searches for 'promo codes' increased by as much as 55% year-over-year.
3. Black Friday Weekend On The Rise: Searches rose 20% year-over-year as consumers flock online during the traditionally offline shopping event.
4. Happy Mondays: 2 of the top 3 days for online purchases were Mondays.
5. Paid Search Boosts Awareness: In a joint test with Levi's, Google found that paid search ads, whether or not clicked, raised consumer awareness substantially.
6. Tis' The Season To Be Mobile: Half of all new internet connections will come from mobile phones.
7. Reach The Non-line Shopper: Searches for "buy online, pick up in store" were up by as much as 100% this past December.
8. Santa's Late Arrival: The week before Christmas accounted for a surprising 20% of post-Black Friday online sales.
9. Hottest Holiday Gifts: Hottest gifts of 2009 included stalwarts like Pikachu and Legos, as well as newcomers, such as the Nerf Marshmellow Shooter.
10. Post-Holiday Rebound: Conversion rates to top retail sites rebounded immediately following the holidays, reaching November levels.

For more holiday trends, tips, and insights, visit our Holiday 2009 blog series. We'll kick off our real-time, daily holiday blog series for the 2010 season later this year.

With 10,000 new retailers coming online last year and retail gross market value shifting online, the future of commerce may look very different from the commerce of the past. John McAteer, Managing Director of US Sales, presents "Commerce Vision," the seventh installment of our multi-channel video series (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

Watch the recap video on this session:

The sixth installment of our multi-channel video series (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) brings us Bernardo Hernandez, Director of Global Consumer Marketing, who shares his view on Google's approach to multi-channel marketing.

Watch some highlights from this session: