This post also appeared in The Tennessean, where Concept Technology has a bi-weekly feature in the Business section.
Black Friday seems to bring out the most psychotic side in all of us. For many, a precious day off of work begins with an alarm at an ungodly hour in the morning followed by hostile combat with crowds large enough to break fire codes, cringe-worthy traffic and sometimes the ultimate defeat: the sold-out item that you climbed out of bed for.
For the less adventurous but equally determined bargain hunters, Cyber Monday has risen as the pinnacle of online shopping. Its status competes with Black Friday these days. But in the end, it’s less of a tug-of-war and more of a gigantic, overlapping sales strategy (that’s actually working). How did Cyber Monday become a staple in every American’s vocabulary?
Shop.org termed “Cyber Monday” back in 2005 as one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. According to a study conducted by Shop.org/Bizrate earlier in 2005, 77 percent of online retailers said their sales increased substantially on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Recognizing the rise of online shopping, retailers offered serious promotions starting in 2005. And boy was it a brilliant move.
Consumers with insatiable appetites for spending wanted the deals of Black Friday without the long lines. And with the world increasingly speaking the language of the internet, consumers got what they wanted. Since retailers embraced Cyber Monday, online shopping has increased without any signs of slowing down.
Following its inaugural year, online spending rose 25 percent for Cyber Monday in 2006, with spending clocking in at $610 million. Cyber Monday is now a part of most American’s holiday routines and sales last year marked the biggest online shopping day in history, with a 20.6 percent increase in online sales and overall spending of $2.29 billion. And while an AOL Inc. survey shows that Black Friday still brings out a crowd with almost 70 percent of buyers making purchases, as compared to 38 percent on Cyber Monday, Cyber Monday shoppers seem to have heavier pockets. The average spend per shopper is $468 compared to $309 on Black Friday.
As Cyber Monday continues to evolve, retailers and consumers should keep several things in mind this year:
Retailers: One of consumers’ biggest hesitations when it comes to online shopping is the delay of instant gratification. Shipping options that are fast and inexpensive will drive consumers to your site. Also, providing seamless returns is necessary this season as consumers seek to avoid purchases that pose complicated return processes. More consumers are using phones and tablets to make purchases, with mobile devices accounting for nearly one-third of traffic. As such, retailers should place an emphasis on tailoring clients’ experience to tablets and phones.
Consumers: Cyber Monday has been traditionally technology device driven, but in recent years has expanded to other categories, especially apparel. Retailers are seeking to run unique promotions throughout the Thanksgiving weekend leading up to Cyber Monday, so check your favorite brand’s social media regularly to keep up-to-date on the most current sales. This year, if you want to get away, you’re in luck because there’s promising travel deals, including historic hotel promotions stateside and Caribbean beachfront savings.
If your food coma from all the turkey you ate hasn’t worn off and you don’t darken the door of a mall this Thanksgiving weekend, here’s to finding some killer deals and certainly over-spending from the comfort of your couch.
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