Art Lieberman

Art Lieberman

The following column is by Art Lieberman, president of Merchants Choice Payment Solutions (MCPS) for Campgrounds.

I’m writing this article on what has been termed Cyber Monday (Nov. 28). This name was coined back in 2005 by the National Retail Federation in order to generate more sales after the Thanksgiving Day weekend, and it sure has worked.

This almost wasn’t necessary, to promote marketing of goods and services on the Internet. Since businesses have started to promote themselves via computer websites, there has been a huge boost in Internet marketing. We’ll explore some of the statistics in this article, and we’re going to use information from last year and this year to demonstrate the growth of Internet marketing employed not only by retailers, but by service-oriented businesses. People who shop online are not only bargain hunters, but more than 60% say they don’t want to pay for the shipping of goods.

Reliable statistics from national sales groups inform us that in 2015, total US Internet sales reached $347 trillion dollars. That’s $347,000,000,000 for those who like their totals in real figures. So far this year, including much of this past weekend, but not including the rest of 2016, Internet sales are already approaching the $400 trillion mark, an increase of over 20%.

The reasons that surveyed individuals gave as factors for shopping online are: less taxes 30%; gas savings 40%; lower prices 55%, no crowds; 58%; variety of items and more information about items 67% and, not surprisingly, less time spent 73%. NOTE THESE LAST TWO ITEMS.

People ordered online rather than making phone calls to order goods or services. We’ll get back to this in a minute.

Another important factor is that 90% of people who own an Internet-enabled device, such as a cell phone, a computer or a tablet have purchased goods or services online, and they also now include the older generation, who has always been slow to become part of the technological generation. Cell phones are greatly responsible for that change.

How, you may ask, does this information relate to campgrounds, since the industry is a service based business? The answer lies in the trends that are apparent above. People, in general, are now getting accustomed to utilizing their Internet-enabled devices to obtain goods they want. It seems obvious that they might do the same in obtaining services. It does seem just as likely that a person who seeks to make a reservation at a campground will now use the Internet, as he or she would to use a telephone, especially since they can actually see photos of the campground.

They also can see a site map, view photos of cabins, and get information about places they can visit in the local areas. More and more, campground owners are spending larger sums of money, enhancing their Websites, and more and more, campground owners are utilizing registration programs that are offered by many industry providers.

We have also noticed, of course, that the payment options offered by secure websites have grown over the past few years. Securing payment in advance often guarantees that the camper is definitely coming to the campground.

If there’s anything this holiday season is proving, it’s that people are living online when it comes to shopping – even for a campsite.