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Christmas Comes Even Earlier as E-Tailers Start Holiday Promotions in September

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New York may have had its hottest day of the year Tuesday, with temperatures reaching 97 degrees Fahrenheit, but online retailers are already pushing holiday promotions.

With Black Friday still more than 75 days away, a new survey published Wednesday by ChannelAdvisor said that 59 percent of U.S. and U.K. e-tailers have by now kicked off their holiday campaigns, while 20 percent of stateside stores plan to start theirs earlier than last year.

The goal: to encourage consumers to click that add-to-cart button before peak holiday shopping season kicks in.

“Retailers continue to push holiday sales earlier and earlier to get in front of the competition,” said Scott Wingo, executive chairman for the cloud-based e-commerce solution. “We’ve seen larger retailers kick off their holiday promotions as early as July. It will be interesting to see if consumers respond to early holiday promotions again this year and get out their wallets before Thanksgiving.”

ChannelAdvisor commissioned Redshift Research to conduct the survey; all respondents sell online and 74 percent also have a brick-and-mortar location. For nearly three-quarters of those surveyed, 20 percent or more of their annual comes during the holiday season and 82 percent expect their sales to increase this year.

Not surprisingly, 41 percent of online retailers in the U.S. named Black Friday as their most profitable day, while nearly half said their holiday sales are driven by Amazon’s third-party marketplace versus 23 percent for whom their own webstores performed the best.

Paid search, however, was a successful sales channel for just 7 percent of U.S. e-tailers surveyed.

ChannelAdvisor also discovered that online retailers’ biggest challenge isn’t wooing shoppers earlier than the competition—fulfillment is. More than a third (34 percent) said shipping orders on time is their greatest hurdle, followed by price matching (27 percent) and converting mobile traffic (19 percent).

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