Its official, fall is in the air. The leaves are past changing; most of them have been hauled away. What does this mean? Turkey, football on Sunday afternoons, hunting trips with the boys? For many bargain hungry Americans, this is the time of year that we will spend the most money in preparation for the holidays.

Last year alone, 90 percent of Americans celebrated Christmas, Kwanza or Hanukah. So as a business owner or marketer, how are you captivating this large audience? A growing number of consumers are extensively researching and comparing prices. According to a study done by GE Capital, 81% of consumers go online before they load up the family and head to the store to make the big purchase. The most interesting part is that it is not specific to one particular industry. This information covers the entire gamut of the retail industry: appliances, electronics, flooring, home furnishings, home improvements, jewelry, eyewear, power sports products, and lawn and garden equipment.

These insights can help business owners and merchants develop a strategy on how they should utilize marketing budgets and develop their websites. With access to tools such as Google Analytics, one can tell how well their advertising dollars are working. Business owners can use ad reports for search, display, social, email and more to view conversion rates and returns across all digital channels. These tools can show you what people are interested in on your website and how much time they are spending one each page. The tools that merchants have at their disposal are incredible.

Being on the eve of the largest shopping season of the year, knowing that consumers are going to be spending time online – not simply purchasing products, but researching and comparing prices – can make all the difference. It’s never to late to optimize your marketing efforts so you can truly measure the results and make real-time decision versus throwing together a poor attempt at a marketing plan hoping it works.