Interesting Holiday Shopping Facts

Are you getting ready for your holiday shopping or are you neck deep in it already? Along with the post Thanksgiving holiday shopping came some interesting statistics in the news about our shopping habits. Thinking about budgets, credit cards, and cash typically accompanies many holiday shopping plans, and rightly so. According to the November 20, 2010 Suze Orman personal finance show holiday shoppers will spend an average of $689.00 during the season. They will also spend an additional $107.50 on themselves.Another interesting story was the increase in online shopping. This year you may have noticed many more online sales and pre-Black Friday specials offered on retailers’ websites. According to the National Retail Federation: “The holiday season may be merry and bright for online retailers, according to results of Shop.org’s eHoliday Study conducted by BIGresearch. Nearly two-thirds of retailers (63.8%) expect their company’s online sales to grow by fifteen percent or more compared to last holiday season, up from less than half of retailers (45.8%) who had those expectations last year”.Backing up the claim that retailers are planning on a healthy increase in online revenue was the fact presented by NBC news on November 26, 2010. They stated that people who shop online spend 24.6% more than those shopping in stores! Certainly, that has to be enticing retailers to lure us onto their websites during the holidays!Now that we have reviewed how much we are spending and where we are spending it consider this statistic offered by the Suze Orman show as well. 13 million people are still paying for the purchases they charged during the holidays in 2009!The LA Times reported that 23 million people will do last minute shopping on Christmas Eve in 2010. “According to a survey released Tuesday by the International Council of Shopping Centers, 23.1 million consumers, or 15%, plan to shop on the day before Christmas.”The offers presented to us may look very appealing, but it is important to keep perspective about your own economic well being. Paying interest on your purchases for a year, or longer, could easily evaporate the savings you found during the sales. Consider only buying the deals that fall within your budget and that you have been saving and planning for, or find other gift giving alternatives.

2010 After Christmas Sales on Toys From WalMart Could Help Americans Save Extra Cash for 2011

It is no surprise to anyone that the overall economy is greatly struggling. Each and every day we hear economic numbers suggesting that the economy is slowly recovering but it seems to be the case that the jobs market is not. The unemployment rate has remained above 9% for quite some time and there are millions of Americans who are currently out of a job. With this being the case there is a very good chance that Americans will cut back greatly when it comes to spending during the Christmas holiday shopping season. Rather than purchasing those expensive Christmas gifts like they used to it may be the case that in 2010 retailers see much less business during the months of November and December.One way to save money during the Christmas holiday season is to wait until the last minute or even after Christmas to find the best sales and deals. By waiting until the last minute there is a possibility that retailers will see sales numbers greatly down which in turn will cause them to offer great discounts for products they still have on the shelves. Unfortunately, this could come to backfire on many American families as some of the more popular items could be sold out. That being said it is often worth it to take a chance to see what deals are available late in the Christmas holiday shopping season.When it comes to truly saving a great amount of money many Americans wait until after Christmas sales are available. One of the biggest retailers in America is WalMart and this retailer always offers great deals on toys during the entire year. The deals that are available during the year are quite cheap but after Christmas sales allow customers to find toys for even lower prices. These low prices could help customers save quite a bit of money which in turn will help them get through the early part of 2011. Before make any assumptions it is always a wise decision to do research and see what toy sales and deals will be available on December 26 and afterwards. It tends to be the case that WalMart only offers sales and deals on the toys that are not in basic departments. One easy way to find this out is to ask a manager where a specific item in his on the normal shelf. If there is not a normal shelf the Natalie could be discounted after the holiday shopping season.

Holiday Marketing Ideas For More Website Sales

The good news is that the Holiday Season is a highly responsive time of year. However, as you know, it is a very competitive time, too. Here are some marketing ideas – both online and offline – to ensure that your current customers continue to shop with you and that new customers start shopping as well.So just how do you overcome short attention spans and deal seeking, fickle customer nature? Many of these ideas are obvious, but many are also often overlooked. Try these holiday helpers:Free Shipping – We’ll just get this one out of the way first. Free shipping has become a holiday staple with a majority of retailers. And, the majority of shoppers are most responsive to this offer. Seventy-five percent of shoppers prefer to shop with online retailers offering free shipping. (Source: Forrester Research).Start Early – Overcome procrastination and beat Black Friday to the punch with “early bird” offers. Also, note peak dates and give customers a “heads up” on upcoming offers so they’ll keep your offers in mind versus your competitors’ offers. Peak dates for 2010:

October & November – Previews, Pre-Orders, Limited Quantities, and Early Bird specials

Friday 11/26 > Monday 11/29 – also known as Black Friday > Cyber Monday

Friday 12/10 > Wednesday 12/17 – includes standard shipping service delivery expiration

Tuesday 12/11 – getting it there with 2-3 day shipping service

Wednesday 12/22 – getting it there with 1-2 day service

Thursday 12/23 – getting it there overnight

Friday 12/24 – Email gift certificates

Saturday 12/25 – Christmas

Monday 12/27 – After holiday sale
Well-Coordinated Campaigns – Many missed opportunities occur because campaigns are disjointed. Focusing your message and consistently executing it in all channels will drive customer response. Use a master campaign calendar to ensure all your media singing the same song-Search engine marketing, website, email, affiliates, comparison shopping engines, online advertising, catalog/direct mail, magazine, radio, TV, social networking, etc.Online Video – Including professional video clips of featured products can increase conversion 10-30% and also decrease returns. Videos engage customers and help avoid high bounce rates at your website. These videos can also be used on blogs (good SEO!) and social networking sites, so the small investment can go a long way.Delayed Payment or Installments – Especially during these times, delayed payments (eBillme, Bill Me Later) and payment installments are popular options, particularly on higher ticket items. They are proven to increase conversion.Gift Guides & Gift Finders – Making it EASY is key to holiday shopping. Gift guides by price or type or an interactive gift finder saves shoppers time. It can also help you focus customers on the merchandise that is most appealing and in stock.Gift Cards – Offer gift cards for easy gift giving. Many customers become indecisive because they are overwhelmed with gift choices. Gift cards can overcome this. Also, gift cards delivered by email are a great last minute gift solution all the way up to Christmas Day! (Extends your holiday revenue opportunity, too.)Gift cards also help introduce new customers to your company.Social Networking – Audience demographic makeup = which social network is most relevant. However, Facebook is an easy choice for most marketers. The holidays are the best time to leverage social networking to build up your network and engage customers who are potentially your most loyal customers. Give these fans and followers your absolute best deals. Consider holiday giveaways, too. There are over 150 million Facebook users (Source: Facebook), over 50% are women, and users are starting to resemble the general population as the larger growth has been coming from people over 35 years old (Source: istrategylabs.com).Give a Gift to the Giver – Coupons, free gifts, free gift cards and other offers are great rewards to give to your shoppers. People like free gifts either to keep for themselves or to pass along as a gift.Super Hot Daily Offers – For a week or two prior to Christmas, daily offers will keep your website top of mind. By knowing what your customer likes, you’ll know the most popular products to put on sale each day.Office Gift Giving – Does it make sense for you to promote your products as great gifts for businesses and business people?Coupons in Shopping Cart – Why encourage your buyers to go out to coupon sites when they are shopping on your site? Shoppers could change their mind when they go to these sites, and you may have to incur extra marketing costs at this coupon sites. Feature a couple of attractive offers upon checkout. These coupons could simply reinforce the offers you already have on your site.Other ideas that have high potential for the Holidays and any time of year:

Cart Abandonment – Utilize emails and/or live chat to recover lost sales. Only about 15% of online retailers address shopping abandon carts, with abandon cart email re-marketing converting at 10-20 times more than other emails (Source: Listrack). A Forrester Research study reports these reasons why 60-70% of shoppers report they abandon carts:
> Shipping and handling costs were too high (44 percent)> I was not ready to purchase the product (41 percent)> I wanted to compare prices on other sites (27 percent)> Product price was higher than I was willing to pay (25 percent)> Just wanted to save products in my cart for later consideration (24 percent)

Sitewide Web Banners – We pay a lot of attention to home page marketing. However, the home page is typically a smaller share of total site traffic. Flaunt your great offers using sitewide banners. “Slim banners” under top navigation or other banner formats in side navigation.

Web Shopping Cart Upsells/Cross Sells – Relevant items and impulse buys are great ways to increase average order value. Stocking stuffers make great upsells/cross sells. You are guaranteed a lift in average order size and incremental revenue from the first day you implement this one. Even test a more interruptive (vs. passive) up-sell with a pop-up or roadblock web page as long as there is great value in your up-sell.

Refer A Friend – A best kept secret to acquire customers at the lowest cost and easily increase loyalty. Reward customers with offers when friends they refer become customers.

Bounce Back Offers – These offers are given to buyers to get them to come back and shop again. Why not start promoting holiday offers in shipping packages in October and November? An after holiday sale could be promoted in your packages, email, point-of-sale, and direct mail campaigns in December.

Reward/Points Programs – Increasingly popular way to increase loyalty is a rewards program. Incentivize customers with extra points/rewards during the Holidays.

Website Performance – Are there any user interface, user flow, application availability, speed, or other website performance issues? Website speed and navigation has become critical in maintaining customer attention. Slow sites can easily lead to site abandonment. Speed is also now a big factor for natural search rankings in Google (SEO).

Nikon D7000, Focusing and Editing

Focusing

Your D7000 has given you several focusing options for Live View/Movie mode. There are benefits to each focus-point option. You can choose Face-priority AF, Wide-area AF, Normal-area AF, and Subject-tracking AF. You will want to choose your focus mode depending on the subject of your video. Face-priority will search for faces within the frame and place a box around each face. When you depress the shutter button halfway, the box will turn from red to green once the face is in focus. This is one of the slower focusing modes, so if you have a fast-moving subject, this may not be your first choice. If you want to follow your subject through the frame and keep his face in focus at all times, Subject-tracking AF would be a good option. Wide-area AF and Normal-area AF allow you to choose the subject that you want to focus on. Wide-area provides a larger focusing area than Normal-area AF. Again, the box surrounding your focus point will turn green when the subject is in focus. See pages 49–55 in your manual for more details on the AF-area modes.

To select your Autofocus mode for video

Autofocus mode for video

  1. Press the Menu button and use the Multi-selector to choose the Custom Settings menu.
  2. Highlight A Autofocus, and hit OK (A).
  3. Use the Multi-selector to scroll down to A8 Live View/Movie AF, and press OK (B).
  4. You can make custom selections for both Autofocus mode and AF-area mode. Highlight AF-area mode, and press OK (C).
  5. Select your preferred AF-area mode, and press OK (D).

Editing

You can do limited editing with Nikon’s Movie Editor that came with your Nikon View NX2 installation CD. This is a great way to do some quick editing without spending money on external software.

If you are serious about editing your videos, I recommend checking out Apple’s Final Cut Express or Adobe’s Premiere Elements. Both of these software packages will give you excellent control as well as more options for video editing.

Nikon D7000, Playback

There are a couple of options for reviewing your video once you have finished recording. The first, and probably the easiest, is to press the Image Review button to bring up the recorded image on the rear LCD, and then use the OK button to start playing the video. The Multi-selector acts as the video controller and allows you to rewind and fast-forward as well as stop the video altogether

If you would like to get a larger look at things, you will need to either watch the video on your TV or move the video files to your computer. To watch low-res video on your TV, you can use the video cable that came with your camera and plug it into the small port on the side of the camera body (Figure 10.3). To get the full effect from your HD video, you will need to buy an HDMI cable (your TV needs to support at least 720HD and have an HDMI port to use this option). Once you have the cable hooked up, simply use the same camera controls that you use for watching the video on the rear LCD.

If you want to watch a video on your computer, you will need to download it using Nikon software or an SD card reader attached to the computer. The video file will have the extension .avi at the end of the filename. These files should play on either a Mac or a PC using software that came with your operating system (QuickTime for Mac and Windows Media Player for PC).

Plug your cable into
Figure 10.3 Plug your cable into this port to watch videos on your television.

 

Nikon D7000, Sound

The D7000 can record audio to go along with your video, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind while using the built-in microphone. The first is to make sure you don’t block the microphone. If you look closely at the front of the camera body, you’ll notice three small holes right below the silver D7000 nameplate, located above the lens release button.

The next thing you need to know about sound is that it is mono, not stereo. This is lower quality sound than you are used to hearing in movies and music. To get stereo quality audio you will need to use an external microphone. I use a Rode shotgun microphone (Figure 10.2) that mounts to the camera’s hot shoe and plugs into the stereo audio jack. These mics do a very nice job of recording audio for your videos and are one of the least expensive options.

The Rode shotgun microphone
Figure 10.2 The Rode shotgun microphone mounts to the camera’s hot shoe and plugs into the stereo audio jack for recording high-quality sound.

Turning off the sound

Sometimes you may wish to turn the sound off altogether—maybe sound would be distracting or you plan on adding your own soundtrack later. This comes in handy when I add the Chariots of Fire soundtrack to my daughter’s cross-country videos.

To turn off sound

  1. Following the directions for setting the movie quality above, locate the Movie Settings menu and press OK.
  2. Highlight Microphone and press OK again (A).
  3. Select the Microphone Off option and press OK to lock in the change (B).
  4. Press the Menu button twice or the Live View switch to return to shooting mode.

turn off sound

Nikon D7000, Video Quality

The best quality your D7000 is capable of is high-definition video with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, aka 1080p. The 1080 represents the height of the video image in pixels, and the P stands for progressive, which is the method the camera uses to draw the video on the screen (more on this later). You can select a lower resolution video depending on your needs.

The other two video resolutions are 1280 x 720 and 640 x 424 (standard definition). For high-definition television and computer/media station viewing, you will be best served by using 1920 x 1080. If you plan on recording for the Internet or portable media devices, first check the appropriate upload to that medium or device. Many social sites such as YouTube and Facebook support HD video, as do the iPad, iPod touch, and competing devices. But before you decide to render HD video you should know the key benefit of using the lower resolutions: Lower resolution video requires less physical storage due to a smaller pixel count. This means you can fit more video on the storage card, as well as take less time to upload the video to the Internet.

What’s the difference between 1080p and 1080i?

When it comes to video, two terms describe its quality and how it is captured and displayed on a monitor or screen: progressive and interlaced. Unlike a photo, a video frame is not displayed all at once but instead is drawn sequentially. Interlaced video first draws the odd-numbered lines and then the even-numbered lines. This odd-even drawing is what we sometimes call screen flicker. In progressive video, the type your D7000 produces, the lines are drawn in sequence from top to bottom, usually resulting in better image quality and less screen flicker. For viewing purposes progressive video is preferred, especially with higher definition images.

Setting Movie Quality

Setting Movie Quality

Setting Movie Quality

  1. Start by pressing the Menu button. Using your Multi-selector, navigate to the Shooting menu.
  2. Using the Multi-selector, highlight Movie Settings and press OK (A).
  3. Highlight Movie Quality and press OK (B).
  4. Select the video quality of your choice and press OK (C).
  5. Press the Menu button twice to exit Menu mode and return to shooting, or rotate the Live View switch to the right to jump to the Live View/Movie mode.

 

Nikon D7000, Dedicating a Second Card to Video

I’m not a huge fan of having all my video and photos on one SD card because often I’m using two different programs for editing: one for video and one for photos. It’s just easier for importing to have one card dedicated to photos and the other to video. Plus, it allows me to dedicate my fastest SD card to video.

To dedicate a video card

dedicate a video card

dedicate a video card

  1. To assign your video recording to a specific SD card slot, press the Menu button. Use the Multi-selector to highlight Movie Settings, under the Shooting Menu and click OK (A).
  2. Use your Multi-selector to highlight Destination and click OK (B).
  3. Select your desired SD card slot, and press OK (C).
  4. Click the Menu button twice or simply rotate the Live View switch to turn on Live View/ Movie Mode.

 

Nikon D7000, Recording with Live View

Video recording is a feature of the Live View capabilities of the camera, so you’ll have to put it into active Live View mode to begin capturing video. This is done by rotating the Live View switch to the right, which will activate Live View on the rear display (Figure 10.1).

Next, you need to focus the camera by placing the red focus box on the subject and holding down the shutter button halfway until the focusing box turns green, indicating your subject is in focus. New to your D7000 is its ability to continue focusing on your subject when you simply keep the shutter button pressed down halfway. (Pressing the shutter button down all the way will take a photo as usual, so make sure to press the shutter only halfway when making movies.)

Rotate the Live View switch
Figure 10.1 Rotate the Live View switch to the right to activate Live View.

Once your subject is in focus, you can push the red button located on the Live View switch to begin recording. As the camera begins to record, you will notice a few new icons on the LCD. At the top left is a blinking red Record icon to let you know that the camera is in active recording mode. At the upper right, a timer counts down your remaining recording time. The recording time is directly related to the quality of video you have selected as well as the capacity of your memory card. Lower quality video and larger memory cards equal more recording time. To stop recording, simply press the red button on the Live View switch a second time, which takes you back to Live View mode. To turn off Live View, rotate the Live View switch to the right, the same way you turned it on, or simply turn off the camera.

Hold it steady

I know a lot of people are just going to start shooting video right out of the box without adjusting the settings, so before I move on I have one word of advice: Use a tripod. Have you ever felt like you just finished riding the Cyclone at Coney Island after watching a home video? Handheld video is rough to watch unless the person behind the camera knew what he or she was doing. Buy a tripod or a tripod head that is constructed for video. Typically these tripods will have what’s called fluid, smooth, or shake-free panning and tilt features. Trust me, a good investment in a nice tripod for your video will make the difference between professional-looking video and The Blair Witch Project.

 

Why Is Online Clothes Shopping Becoming So Popular?

Online clothes shopping is becoming very popular with people all over the world for so many different reasons. There are many different benefits to using the world wide web to shop for any item you need.Knowing what these benefits are will help you see why online clothes shopping just makes sense. Here are the main benefits that so many people around the world shop on the internet instead of wasting time shopping locally.1. Saves money – Shopping on the internet allows you the chance to find good deals for any item that you want to buy. There are many different stores online that sell the same clothes and this allows you to shop around to find the best deal so that you save money each time you buy something new online.2. Convenience – The internet allows you the chance to shop in the privacy of your own home. No longer do you have to fight the crowds or deal with parking or the million other headaches that come with shopping offline.You can now shop at your convenience, any time of the day or night. This is a big reason why so many people are doing their clothes shopping on the internet these days.3. Time saver – You can now find any clothes that you are looking for within minutes. There won’t be any more shopping around and driving to different stores to find what you want. Now you can look at as many different clothes stores as you want to all from one easy place.This is a big time saver for anyone. It is also one of the other big reasons why shopping online for clothes is becoming more popular because everyone has a limited amount of time these days.4. More selection – When shopping at a local store, you only get to choose from the clothes that they have in stock. Shopping on the world wide web allows you to buy clothes from anywhere in the world you want to. This provides a much bigger selection for you to choose from.5. Comparing – When you shop around for clothes, many people like to compare so they can save money and to be sure they are getting exactly what they want. The internet makes it easy to compare anything within a few short minutes so you can easily make a smart decision about your clothing purchase.Now that you know why online clothes shopping is becoming so popular with people all over the world, you can see why it makes a lot of sense for you to start shopping online if you haven’t already. Don’t waste time shopping locally when there are so many benefits to shopping on the internet.