In just two weeks everyone’s favorite holiday will finally be here. And no I’m not talking about Thanksgiving, I’m talking about Black Friday.
The term “Black Friday” was first used in 1975 to describe the day after Thanksgiving, which was the busiest shopping and traffic day of the year. The day after Thanksgiving was considered the start of Christmas season and because of the four-day weekend it became a day for people to start their Christmas shopping.
However, the purpose of Back Friday has clearly evolved. The primary focus has gone from getting a start on Christmas shopping to getting good deals. Stores have began opening early in the morning (and sometimes even on Thanksgiving day) and offering extremely attractive deals. It has become tradition for shoppers to wait in lines outside for hours and then physically fight for products.
This all seems pretty unattractive. But for many it’s worth it for the potential savings.
But now there’s a way to get these deals and not have to worry about getting trampled or punched in the face. And that is Cyber Monday.
Marketing departments created Cyber Monday in an attempt to persuade customers to shop online. Although the Monday after Thanksgiving had always been a day with increased sales it wasn’t really recognized until 2005.
Cyber Monday quickly became the most popular day to shop. Sales have surpassed those on Black Friday and are growing at a faster rate.
Fortune reported that in Cyber Monday in 2016 was the biggest day in the history of U.S. e-commerce. On this day, online sales totaled $3.45 billion, a 12.1% jump from Cyber Monday in 2015.
What makes these numbers even more impressive is that sales have been diluted across several days. It has turned into more of a “Cyber Week,” as many retailers offer their online deals beginning on Black Friday and lasting through Tuesday and Wednesday.
Cyber Monday and Technology
Cyber Monday was originally created in order to exploit retailer’s online platforms. As the popularity of Cyber Monday has grown, businesses have created new features that will enhance the consumer experience and encourage sales.
Mobile shopping has proven to be a must-have feature for retailers if they want to be able to compete. Although retailers didn’t create their mobile platforms solely for Cyber Monday, apps have accounted for a large percentage of traffic and sales. In 2015, smartphones accounted for 37% of Cyber Monday traffic to online retailers and in 2016 mobile shopping accounted for 31% of sales. These numbers have validated the efforts and resources that retailers, such as Target, Walmart, and Kohl’s, have put into their mobile apps.
Websites, such as bestblackfriday.com, have been created to help consumers find the best deals between several different stores. This website features ads that have been “leaked” featuring Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals at Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and several other stores. The website also provides consumers with store hours and a list of “hot items” that compares the prices at every store, both in person and online. This website, among several others like it, appeal to consumers using convenience and ease of use to encourage them to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. (If you’re interested, there are already deals posted for 2017!)
Many stores, but most notably Amazon, do a great job of building anticipation by slowly announcing deals on their website in the weeks prior to Thanksgiving. In addition to these announcements, Forbes analysts have been able to create models that predict Amazon’s deals. These models have use historical and insider information and are extremely accurate. The model that was created by Gordon Kelly for 2017 has already correctly predicted the prices for the Amazon Echo Plus, the Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader, and three other products that have been confirmed by Amazon. There are currently eight more products that have yet to be confirmed. The announcement of deals early in the month and the predicted deals creates more knowledge of these deals and allows for customers to be thinking about these products for weeks. Amazon hopes that the longer customers think about the product the more they will want to buy it, leading to more sales.
Cyber Monday was ultimately a modern day adaptation of Black Friday that was supposed to help online retailers do more business. The increasing presence of online platforms made Cyber Monday possible. Retailers are currently doing everything they can to capitalize off of the growing success of Cyber Monday. This includes creating better online and mobile platforms, creating websites that make finding deals easier for consumers, and rolling out deals in a way that maximizes customer attention.