When shopping on the Internet there are many things to consider, following are some guidelines to keep your experiences a positive one.Shop online, or brick and mortar!Many people shop at brick and mortar stores because they feel shipping charges only raise their total cost, however, unless you live in a high density populous like a major city, most often shipping charges cost less than the gasoline required to travel to and back from a brick and mortar store, especially when looking for bargains, which would probably require a stop off at more than two stores for price comparison, and even then when you find the best price, (even if you researched your favorite stores online) you run the risk of a fuel expense only to find your item not in stock, so by the time you actually come home with your item, your fuel expense was probably greater than most fast shipping costs would be. There is also the consideration of time, I live in a rural area where the nearest grocery store is about 12 miles away, and the discount big box retail stores, over 15 miles away, with an average speed limit of 50 mph, it would take approximately 20-25 minutes travel in each direction, around 20 more minutes to identify and locate the specific item(s) in the store, then there is the line at the check out area, depending what time of day/evening you go, it could be as little as 5 minutes and up to 30, as I have waited in check out lines at big box retail stores, so online shopping is not only green, ecologically, but you get more than an hour and a half of your life freed up to do other more desirable activities!Is it safe to shop online?Many people still hold on to the idea that online shopping is very risky, however with the implementation of a number of encryption techniques, your personal, and credit card information, is quite secure, but should you still feel a measure of insecurity inputting your credit card information at a website, there are additional steps you can take to insure zero liability on your part. Most credit cards offer a zero liability rider on their cards for any fraudulent charges if you pay a small monthly fee, usually after a 30 – 90 day free trial, in which case any charges that show up on your statement that are not your authorized purchases, will be unconditionally credited back to your card, and an investigation will most likely ensue to try to prevent a reoccurrence.Once you get past the apprehension of credit card fraud, there are a number of practices that will ensure a positive experience.Is the lowest price the best deal?When price comparing different e-commerce stores there are some things to consider, is the item brand new, refurbished, re-packed, a factory second, or even the name brand that is stated, these are all important factors to consider when comparing prices, and many sites will state what grade of merchandise they carry if it is good for business, for instance, I have seen prices for a specific digital camera range from $99.95 to $279.95 for the exact same camera and the msrp was $229.00, so I ask myself, why so high, or so low, if I choose the lowest price am I getting what I would get if I paid the high price? Well obviously the highest price is not one’s first choice, but here are some answers, the higher prices might be due to a poor choice of wholesaler or distributor, or a lack of buying power due to low volume sales, or a high overhead that needs to be considered by the merchant, or maybe they are also brick and mortar store and do not want to severely undercut the prices in the actual store with their online prices. Now when evaluating low prices consider buying American made, because there are a number of foreign manufacturers that produce cheap knock offs of the original, which are available at much lower prices than their American counterparts, also check the item listing for very small,(fine print) or similar colored text (almost invisible), stating that it is either refurbished or a factory second, and when buying branded items make sure the item picture reflects the advertised brand name, and is not an inferior knock off, this happens most when shopping for accessories like picture cards, removable mass storage devices, and other types of digital media, and similar accessories.Something else to look out for is the price of shipping, and the geographical location of merchant, for instance, compare the shipping charges for the same item on a few sites, that are located in the same area, if one price is much higher, they might be advertising a low price but make it up in the way of a handling charge added to the shipping charge, also if you narrowed down your choice of sites to just a few, then buy from the one geographically close, which will minimize the shipping charge, an example would be if you live in California, and your narrowed down sites are located in New York, Dallas, and Seattle, the lowest shipping charges would likely be from Seattle, now if there is a site also in California, you might still consider the Seattle site to save on sales tax, provided the company does not also have a physical store in California as well, because then they will also be required to charge sales tax, on the positive side, some merchants might show extremely low prices on items that have been discontinued by the manufacturer, and the merchants want to move excess inventory before they lose their profit margin all together, so checking with the manufacturer, if the item is current, will explain such a low price, or they might be a “wholesale to the public” type merchant with tremendous buying power, and warehouse space in which case the savings are passed to you, another explanation for low prices can be the use of drop shippers, and warehouse co-ops, which reduces the overhead for online merchants because they do not need to tie up thousands of dollars in inventory to make minimums, and the expense to house that inventory, all of which can contribute to lower prices, along with being in a very competitive retail venue.Feedback and ratings!There are many opportunities to give feedback or rate your experience with a site. What do you choose, a highly rated store with higher prices, or a store with little or no rating with lower prices, well I for one have many times, passed on offering a rating, by not responding to the email sent, just because of the lack of time, so these should be considered on the lighter side, for instance, a high number of ratings may not all be positive, or they might have lost sight of a customers value because business is so good they no longer feel the need to go the extra mile to make or keep a satisfied customer, on the other hand, no ratings at all might only mean it is a reasonably new store and has not received the customer count of the big guys, but my thought is this, give the little guy a shot, in their pursuit of sales they are more likely to go the extra mile to win over a customer, and possibly offer an incentive to return to them for future purchases.How to search for your purchase!I would recommend getting as much information about a product or products from the original manufacturer’s website, they usually offer the most comprehensive information about their products and usually a suggested retail price, but generally do not sell direct, but instead provide a list of sites you can purchase from, with that said, consider this, after visiting the manufacturer’s site you probably made the decision as to which product model you want to purchase, when doing a search engine search, include the make and model in your search query, rather then a general search term like “fish finder” or “digital camera” this will accomplish a few things, first it will reduce the number of results, and make the results you do get the most relevant, then search engines usually, under these circumstances, will provide a “price compare” link, for instance Google will provide Froogle results, or a Yahoo! Search might provide a Yahoo! Shopping link to a price compared list of possible merchants, and then there are the links like Shopzilla, Price grabber, Next tag, or shop.com, to name a few, these links all provide easy access to price comparing, but be advised that many of these results are “sponsored” which means merchants paid to show up in that search result, and may not be the only relevant sites to choose from!Where do I go to shop for many items?Many e-commerce sites are pretty specialized, in as much as they offer a comprehensive selection of the type of merchandise they specialize in, a metal detector store for metal detectors and accessories, or a camera store for digital cameras, picture cards, and batteries, etcetera. Although these stores often have the most competitive prices they might not be your best choice when shopping for many different items, that’s where your Internet department stores might be a better choice, and I will tell you why, if you were to buy a metal detector for your Nephew, and a digital camera for your Mom, and a GPS fish finder for your Dad, and a paintball gun for your Brother, and some jewelry for your Niece, buying these items each from a different store will not be as cost efficient as taking some time to find a department type store that has all these different items for offer, even if their prices are a little bit higher, because all the shipping will be calculated by the total weight of the order, not rounding up each item to the next whole pound as when purchased from separate stores.May all your Internet shopping experiences be positive ones!
The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Family and friends reunite, people tend to be a little nicer and more charitable, and the magic of the holidays can soften even the most jaded of critics. All the various holidays should be a time of joy and reflection but yet every year there seems to be an inevitable looming dark cloud waiting to ruin the festivities: holiday shopping. Sure there are some who find the packed shopping malls, long lines, mobs of people, and crammed parking lots all just part of the process. They see this as a holiday tradition and if they don’t wait too long they can survive the chaos relatively unscathed. However, for the majority holiday shopping provides huge stress and inconvenience. Time spent battling cars, people, employees, and the seasonally unkind weather could instead be spent with loved ones or by the warm fire with a glass of eggnog. In today’s society we are all about convenience and that is why we are turning to the internet to meet our holiday shopping needs.Online shopping appears to be the answer weary holiday shoppers are looking for. The advantages are endless but convenience of time, money, and effort are topping the list. The e-commerce market (online retail) provides consumers with no limitations to their product searches. If a product is out there you can find it and buy it. With traditional shopping we are limited to what is in the store or our geographical region, and we have to take time to drive and physically search for that perfect present. With shopping online, the perfect present is right at our finger tips without ever leaving the comfort of our home. Even if we happen to find that perfect present in a retail store it might not come in the right color or correct size, but online shopping offers multiple options to their products in a dropdown bar that is only a click away, so customizing what you want has never been easier.No more standing in line outside of a store at five o’clock in the morning to beat the crowds, the e-commerce market never closes. There are no time limitations to when or how long you shop. As long as you have internet access, online shopping will be open to you around the clock, twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. An excellent effect of the ability to browse freely at your own convenience is that online shopping is creating smarter, better consumers. Shopping online gives no pressure to the consumer to buy or settle for unsatisfactory products. It also provides a chance to compare products easily to find the best deal and quality with no effort. And since there are no sales people convincing you that you must buy something, people are much more satisfied coming away from an online shopping experience because they know they purchased something that they really wanted, not something they felt forced into buying.More and more holiday shoppers are realizing the many advantages of online shopping every year. Just this past 2009 holiday season, e-commerce sales exceeded $900 million. Once upon a time, the Friday after Thanksgiving or more commonly known as “Black Friday,” was the biggest shopping day of the year. People came out in droves to kick off the holiday season and spend their hard earned cash at retail stores everywhere. But online shopping is taking the spotlight and even was given its own day and name, “Cyber Monday.” So instead of braving the crowds on “Black Friday” people are finding the same or better deals at their personal computers on “Cyber Monday.” According to comScore Inc., who is the leader in measuring the digital world and a source of digital marketing intelligence, “Cyber Monday” beat out “Black Friday” in holiday sales for 2009. The numbers don’t lie; consumers reportedly spent $595 million on “Black Friday” in traditional retail stores, compared to spending $887 million on “Cyber Monday” in the e-commerce market. The pricelessness of convenience is actually pushing people to spend more during the holiday season.An interesting trend in online shopping is the availability of free shipping. Free shipping is rapidly becoming the deciding factor for shoppers in choosing competing online retail stores and it was also the critical driving force in the holiday shopping market for 2009. Free shipping is being used creatively by retailers all over the e-commerce market to entice consumers to spend more. There was once a time when free shipping felt like winning the lottery when making online purchases but now at least 45 percent of all online transactions include free shipping. This makes people feel good and gives them a chance to maybe spend a little more where they would’ve been spending in shipping charges. ComScore Inc. reported that the average order value for an online purchase that included free shipping was $134, whereas the average order value for a purchase that did not include free shipping was about $103. So don’t settle for shipping charges, if you search a little more there is probably a place that can provide free shipping on all of their products.People have accepted that the holiday season should be a stressful time. Most of this stress is a direct result from holiday shopping in retail stores. This doesn’t have to be the case; online shopping provides a quick, convenient, stress-free shopping experience. Online shopping takes the focus away from the time consuming traditional shopping and allows people the freedom to visit with friends and family, bake holiday goodies, sing holiday songs, and the ability to better enjoy the season. It looks like online shopping just might have put the magic back into the holidays.
Shopping online is an industry segment whose growth has exploded faster and at a rate far beyond the scope of what many people thought was possible. Oh, the vision was there in the 1980’s__the vision to be able to sit at home and comparison shop for all your wants and needs, to find the best prices without going from store to store, saving time, gasoline and money— but, alas, technology did not allow it until modems and Internet transfer speeds rocketed over the past 10 years.Fast forward through 5-6 years of rapid technological advances, and the Internet was fast becoming part of our world. More homes had computers. A new generation was “tech savvy.” People had discovered the ease of shopping for and booking travel online. That segment exploded from 3% in 2001 to 95% in 2010..Pretty soon a number of retail stores saw what was happening in the travel industry and began opening their own sites with limited, usually higher-priced items. Few people really shopped online unless they were home-bound or lived in remote areas. Some online specialty stores began to pop up, as did a few online-only insurance companies.–Hearken back to the days of the Sears catalog, the Fuller Brush man and some other home-based multi-level soap, potions, cosmetics and vitamin sales people. So, now you know how we all got to this point.What IS “this point?”We are witnessing an unprecedented industry growth explosion.In 2009, out of the $$$ trillion spent on total retail shopping, only 3% was done online.
In the first 9 months of 2010 it had grown another percent.
In 2010, “Black Friday,” the Friday after Thanksgiving in the US, and on “Cyber Monday,” the following Monday, online retail sales were up 20% over the same weekend in 2009.
“Black Friday” saw over $600,000,000 in ONLINE retail sales
“Cyber Monday” cracked the $1 Billion mark for the first time in history, and that was during the worst recession and highest unemployment this country has seen in 75 years!
In January of 2011, one online shopping mall had increased its revenue by over 250% of ALL of 2010Guess what’s happening?The price of gasoline is skyrocketing.
Busy people don’t have the time or energy to trek through stores.
Many people’s incomes have shrunk due to layoffs and reduction in their work hours, and so…
The Recession has created an impetus to save as much money as possible, so…
More and more people shop online because they have discovered it is a good way to save time, energy, money and gas.Can you see the correlation between what happened in the travel industry, and what is happening now in the retail shopping sector? People are becoming more and more comfortable with online payment options, and with searching for what they want. And the online retailers are more than happy to provide the “real estate” for them to shop online with much lower overhead than their traditional stores.Online shopping has truly become a 21st century phenomenon– an unprecedented industry growth explosion an industry segment that barely existed 10 years earlier.
I must admit that I am guilty of shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. While not a true trooper (I don’t spend the night), I do wake up super early and try to hit the stores shortly after they open. Basically this means that those $100 computers will be out of reach for me. But there are other deals to be had.The real question is whether it is worth waiting in line for the cheap computers, otherwise known as “doorbusters”. These doorbusters are deals that are too good to be true and are only available in limited quantities.Before the explosion of the internet and eBay in particular, regular folks actually had a chance at getting one of these good deals. After all, people in line were getting something for themselves. But now online auctioneers are out in droves on Black Friday. Getting a great deal on the Friday after Thanksgiving. If they can get a good deal and resell at a profit then why not wait in line?So what does that mean to the rest of us? Should we just give up or should we try and brave the crowds? What I have found is that the big ticket items with the biggest discounts are sold out quickly. But items of lesser value are more readily available later into the day. I usually find some great prices on technology media like memory cards, mini dv tapes, cd’s , dvd’s, and the like. Deals on clothing, and non-technology items are also easier to find.A little prep work goes a long way in getting what you want. Making a list ahead of time of the stores you want to visit, and the items that you plan to buy from each store is essential. Also deciding the order in which you will visit stores will help keep the morning organized and running smoothly – this is especially key if you are shopping with other people as they will have their own list of priorities.One little known secret is that many online retailers also try to get in on the hype and offer their own sales. So if you would rather shop from the comfort of home then hit the internet running and you may find a few steals while everyone else is at the mall. And this is even before Cyber Monday.As for me, I honestly enjoy the spirit of comraderie and competition that I find in the wee hours of the morning on the busiest of all shopping days. And the best part is heading out for a hot breakfast after we are completely tuckered out.
ComScore has just announced that US shoppers have broken the record for online shopping. The Monday after the US Thanksgiving holiday has come to be known as “Cyber Monday”, as online shoppers cash in on holiday specials. This year UK shoppers spent over $733 million in 24 hours. It was appropriately named report, “Holiday Season e-Commerce” has announced that since the 1st of November, 2007, over 10.7 billion dollars have been spent online.The day was named “Cyber Monday” as it previously been recorded as the day when most US residents start doing their Christmas shopping. With the benefits of buying online, citizens have turned to the Internet to order their gifts online rather than going to the mall. ComScore, an online tracker company, estimates that the shopping craze will continue for the next few weeks, up until Christmas. There are expectations that expenditure will reach 800 million dollars on some days.Cyber Monday’s online spending went up by 21% this year, beating last year’s record. The day is the most significant spike in all holiday spending. The number of online buyers grew by a total of 38% from the previous record. However the average amount a person spent online dropped by 12%.It has been reported that the decrease in spending could be attributed to companies offering discounts and becoming more “internet savvy” with their advertisements and sales. A fair amount of the large companies in the US had Cyber Monday sales online for the new trend of online shopping.The report showed that 6% of US internet users made online purchases on the Monday, with 60% of them coming from work computers. A few retail websites went down on the day, as the traffic surge caused technical problems with their sites. Error messages popped up on users’ screens instead of completed transaction notices. Yahoo reported that the traffic on their Yahoo! Merchant Solutions caused smaller retail companies’ websites to black out for several hours.However, larger retail sites, such as Wal-Mart, Dell, Best Buy, Circuit City and Overstock.com jumped up their traffic scale by 100%. There was a 261% increase reported on the MSN Shopping site operated by Microsoft. However, it is not only websites that are finding the boom in traffic stressful; credit and house markets are also being buffeted by the extra strain.The Friday after Thanks Giving is known as Black Friday. The National Retail Federation showed that, according to their survey, more than 147 million shoppers went online on Black Friday. This is up from last year, by 4.8%. Overall there’s been more than a 4% rise in holiday spending this year.Black Friday was originally named due to the amount of high traffic on the day. Although it is not an official holiday, most UK citizens take the day off for a long weekend. Because it is also the start of Christmas shopping season, there is a large amount of traffic on the roads. As online shopping becomes popular, traffic on the roads is moving over to traffic on websites for the shopping.With delivery times taken into consideration, online sales should relax and calm down as the festive season declines. However, sales at shops and malls should slowly pick up with Christmas now only a mere month away.
Black Friday is not the only big shopping day of the year. There are plenty of other days that are giving it a run for its money. However, it is still the leader with its fantastic deals after Thanksgiving Day. But what are the other shopping days and seasons throughout the year that are proving to be quite profitable for businesses? We know that there are more than one.Mother’s Day and Father’s DayMother’s Day is a day in which mom is honored for everything that she has done. It is that one day a year where everyone stops and thinks, ‘Thanks mom for everything you have done for me.’ There are so many gifts that are made available to buy mom such as flowers and even electronics. It has been advertised and hyped up to the point where mom receives gifts similar to what she would receive on her birthday or Christmas.As for Father’s Day, unfortunately, dad is second place to mom. Father’s Day is still an incredible shopping day, but it definitely does not come with all of the hype that Mother’s Day does. This isn’t to say that dad isn’t appreciated, because he is. It’s just that dads aren’t really gift receivers like mom unless they simply don’t want to admit how excited it makes them, even if you do buy them a tie each year.Valentine’s DayValentine’s Day is another day in which appreciation is shown for your significant other. That’s when the department and food stores start stocking up on roses, various flowers, and boxes of chocolates. There are even stuffed animals and balloons thrown in there to make the day special. This is also a huge shopping day for jewelry stores because this is a day in which a lot of proposals for marriage are made. It may seem a little cliché, but a lot of restaurants seem to set the mood on this particular day, making it perfect for that marriage proposal.Christmas and Black FridayThe Christmas shopping season is kicked off by Black Friday. It is that shopping day after Thanksgiving in which stores offer up door buster deals by opening their doors at 5:00 a.m. and letting the hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of people into their stores to scoop up the best deals of the season. In all reality, it is the best time of year to shop for such items as clothes, toys, and various other gift items.Once Black Friday begins, the stores remain busy until Christmas Eve as shoppers are taking advantage of last minute deals to get their last minute shopping done. This explains why these stores have to have extended hours and why they have to have seasonal help. This is by far the busiest shopping season of the year. Where Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day are all busy periods, the Christmas shopping season lasts just a little under a month. All of the rest only last for a matter of days to a week and that is it.There you have it!So there you have it, a rundown of the biggest and busiest shopping days and seasons of the year. Although there are other busy seasons, such as Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July, these are item-specific seasons. You’re either buying food or fireworks. These other seasons are huge money-makers for businesses. They are also great times for people to do their online shopping because of all of the sales that encourage people to buy more. So whatever your favorite shopping season is, be sure to find the best deals and to have fun.
It’s a goal for millions and millions of families each and every year – keep the Christmas spending within a budget, but still be able to afford the gifts that your loved ones will enjoy. Never has this concern been greater in recent years than right now – it seems like the most sought after gifts keep getting more and more expensive, but our salaries (if we are lucky enough to have kept our jobs through these tough financial times) remain the same.There is no denying that having the happiest Christmas possible, while still remaining within a very tight budget is no easy task, but there are several things that you can do to help.Hit the SalesNo one wants to get up at four o’clock in the morning and fight the vicious throngs of ill-willed shoppers to get the best deals on Black Friday, but sometimes the ‘door buster’ deals are among the absolute best that you’ll find.Black Friday bargains are something that just about every retailer participates in now in an effort to really kick off the holiday shopping season with a bang. It’s admittedly very tough to muster up the courage and get out there in the cold for a good deal, but sometimes – it can be well worth the aggravation.It’s not always about just beating the rush though, many retailers offer specials all through the day – and some even offer online Black Friday specials, so if you aren’t hearty enough to handle the early morning war for the best prices, you may still be able to get a great deal on Black FridayPay Close Attention to AdvertisementsOnce the Christmas shopping season is in full swing, retailers hungry for your business will do just about whatever it takes to get you in the store. Pay very close attention to weekly advertisements of sales among the major retailers and don’t be afraid to comparison shop – even if something is five dollars less at one location, that’s still five more dollars in your pocket.Major retailers put on special sales just about every week leading up to the holiday, if you keep a watchful eye open to the sale papers you just might be able to find the item that you’re looking for at a large percentage off.Retailers’ websites will also show the current sales taking place and sometimes offer newsletters that will notify shoppers of upcoming bargains that others may not be privy to.Shop OnlineSome of us don’t like running from store to store in order to get the absolute best price on the perfect gift, some of us don’t like to go out in the cold at all – thankfully for us, there is a wealth of top notch bargains right at our fingertips with online shopping.The world of online shopping lets people visit all the major retailers as well as some specialty stores that could never have been patronized without the help of the internet. This gives us, as consumers, the ability to truly find exactly what we are looking for, at the best possible price without ever having to leave the house. With ‘traditional’ Christmas shopping consumers are sometimes limited to what’s left in stock if they wait too long to get to a particular store.Having the perfect Christmas while sticking to a budget will never be easy, but with the extra resources available to the consumer today it’s easier than it has ever been before. If you research the sales online and make good use of online shopping you should be able to save a good bit of money on your Christmas shopping this holiday season.
There are many different benefits associated with online shopping either through online retailers or online auction websites. With the World Wide Web at its highest popularity level of all times, and with a computer in almost every household, many people feel like online shopping is the way to go. The following paragraphs will discuss some popular ways to online shop, as well as point out some of the clear benefits associated with online shopping versus traditional store shopping.Places like Overstock are able to sell merchandise a much lowers costs for many different reasons. The costs associated with maintaining an online store are much less than those of traditional stores. Because the cost of operation is so much less, places like Overstock are able to offer merchandise at prices that are often way below regular retail. In addition, when you choose to shop at Overstock, you can also use an Overstock promo code to help decrease your total costs even more. Sometimes people get an Overstock coupon code or promotional code for being repeat customers. An Overstock promo code or an Overstock coupon code can also be located by searching the internet.Online auction websites are also quickly replacing traditional stores. On most online auction websites, people will bid on an item for a predetermined amount of time. When that time limit is exceeded, the highest bid wins the item. One of the greatest benefits of shopping this way is you can ask the seller questions about what they are selling before you decide whether or not you want to place a bid. Each seller has a feedback score, too. It is safe to assume that a seller with a high rating only sells good merchandise. The final prices on most merchandise sold in online auction are far, far below the retail cost of the same item. People save a lot of money by shopping at both online stores and on online auctions.You can use a overstock coupon code when shopping at Overstock, and you can use similar promotional codes specific to the online store or online auction where you are shopping. First of all, what could be better than shopping for the things you want and need without having to fight crowds, search for parking spots, or wait in long check out lines? I will tell you! Shopping without having to do any of the above AND save money while doing it! Online shopping makes this all very possible.
Here’s the new retail riddle: What is Black, Green, Brown and Cyber all over?Color coded holiday shopping days.Everyone knows Black Friday, the beginning of the traditional holiday shopping season. Cyber Monday is the Monday immediately following Black Friday and was created in 2005 by the National Retail Federation to increase online sales. Supposedly we would eat our turkey on Thursday, go shopping Friday and then shop online Monday while at work or relaxing at home.Green and Brown Monday are probably less familiar. Green Monday refers to the first Monday in December, typically the busiest online shopping day of the year. Brown Monday is the following week and refers to when retailers start dramatic markdowns to push holiday merchandise out the doors.The titles are colorful but how accurate are they?Black Friday has become an event in itself and its start time keeps getting earlier and earlier. But surprisingly it usually is not the busiest shopping day in terms of customer traffic and retail sales. The Saturday before Christmas, known as The Saturday before Christmas, typically ranks first while Black Friday is usually the fifth to tenth busiest day.Online sales do increase on Cyber Monday but the biggest online shopping day is actually December 14th-the shipping deadline to receive gifts by the 25th-which also happens to be Brown Monday this year.Now that you are either frustrated or confused, here’s the relevance from a marketing standpoint:The National Retail Federation identified a creative selling opportunity via online sales the Monday after Thanksgiving. They wisely defined their target market as potential shoppers who could shop online from work or at home that day. They developed a simple, yet memorable message (Shop Online on Cyber Monday!) and utilized a coordinated mix of PR, advertising, promotional discounts, online marketing and word of mouth to effectively communicate that message again and again.Now Cyber Monday is part of our vernacular and online sales have continued to grow that day each year. While it might not be the biggest online shopping day just yet, Cyber Monday could very well reach that goal in the future.Then what?
Black Friday. Say it out loud. It certainly doesn’t sound very inviting, does it? Christmas shopping has never sounded scarier.On this day, and even the night before, armies of eager-to-please moms take to the streets in preparation for the Christmas holiday. Waiting in hordes outside of shopping malls and retail outlets, the moms of America observe Black Friday as the holiest of days. On this, the morning after Thanksgiving, the majority of stores throughout the country offer their best deals of the year.And they do not go unnoticed.As far as Christmas sales go, Black Friday is the king. Gift ideas never come easier, as stores line their aisles with featured items and discounts that would seem ridiculous on any other day. But this is Black Friday. It’s not just any other day.Truth is, most Black Friday sale items are sold out before the average customer even wakes up. Opening hours earlier than usual, and greeting the largest crowds of the year, many stores turn into battlefields on the morning after Thanksgiving. The Christmas season goes into full effect on this day. Minus the holiday cheer.While the deals are usually pretty substantial, and the rush of adrenaline that comes with fighting over a toy is hard to find elsewhere, Black Friday is one holiday I choose not to observe.Believe it or not, you have this option too.In fact, you can do your Christmas shopping any day you’d like. You can do it on a Tuesday. Or even a Sunday, for that matter. Any day you choose to shop for Christmas gifts is likely a fine choice. And while you may never find Black Friday sales on any other day, you will thank yourself for considering your options.More and more, Christmas shoppers have taken to the Internet for their gift needs. Online stores are open year-round, 24 hours a day, and there are no lines to wait in or stressed-out moms to fend off. You can also find amazing deals online, using sites like Amazon or Half.com, and a larger variety than is available in most stores. Simply put, you don’t even need to step foot in a real store to go Christmas shopping these days. Let alone on the busiest day of the year. Make your own Black Friday. You can even give it a more inviting name, if you’d like. Something that doesn’t sound like it’s the Apocalypse.