According to Word of Mouth Marketing Association, viral marketing and incentives were the major factors in online retail sales this holiday season. Previous surveys have shown that a staggering number of customers turn to friends, colleagues, etc. for advice about possible purchases. This year incentives offered by retailers, most in the form of free shipping, has played a major role in increased sales, as well. Has the importance of incentives reflected savvy shopping by the customers- getting the best deal for their money, or has it been due to the idea of "getting something for nothing?" The word "free" tends to have great power in today's society.
Whatever the reason, it appears that the optimism of companies about holiday sales, early in the season, has most likely proven true. In fact, to draw customers to their web sites, over 97% of online retailers invested in search engine marketing, 73% in comparison shopping engines, and many in other unconventional online marketing strategies.