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Online Retailers Already Feeling Merry [POLL/AUDIO]

Plenty of shoppers are eager to get ahead of the expected holiday crowds, but they don’t have to go without the holiday deals, and they don’t have to leave their homes. According to the latest eHoliday survey from Shop.org, more than 60 percent of online retailers are starting their online holiday marketing promotions before Halloween.

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Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

“For retailers, there is no better time to shine than the holiday season, and it’s evident that online retailers are already planning to go the extra mile for their customers this year,” said Shop.org Executive Director Vicki Cantrell.

The survey showed nine in ten retailers plan to offer some form of free shipping for online shoppers; 30 percent will do so without any conditions.

“Free shipping for retailers has become the rule and not the exception, and that has been driven by consumer demand,” explained National Retail Federation spokesperson Kathy Grannis. “It’d be really hard for retailers to back down from one of the most beloved holiday promotions.”

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In a separate survey from NRF, more than half of shoppers said they will shop online in the coming weeks – the highest amount in the survey’s ten-year history. According to Shop.org, half of consumers polled said they would begin online shopping before October 31.

When asked why they would be more inclined to shop online this holiday season, nearly four in 10 shoppers said 24-hour convenience is a main reason, and more than one-third said they specifically choose to shop online because of free shipping. Additionally, 33.1 percent said they don’t care for holiday crowds in stores, and 29.6 percent claimed they prefer the ease of being able to compare prices.

Meanwhile, consumers can expect stepped-up efforts from retailers in terms of “mobile marketing.”

Grannis said companies are pushing out offers through text messages and alerts, for those willing to receive them.

“Some companies will go as far as adding QR codes to their shelves so consumers can use their phones to look up that product and more information about it,” Grannis said.

In addition, several retailers have been offering customers the instant gratification they seek by allowing coupons to be scanned right through their mobile devices.

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