Cyber Monday: The Hype and Sales Continue

Discussion
Nov 30, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

In a 2009 RetailWire poll, 50 percent of respondents
said Cyber Monday was somewhat or very important to online
sales performance for the holiday season. Forty-four percent said not so much.
So what is the reality of Cyber Monday’s importance one year along?

According
to Shop.org, 90 percent of retailers planned to run special Cyber Monday promotions
this year. Nearly 107 million Americans planned to shop yesterday up from the
96.5 million who shopped on Cyber Monday in 2009.

"Hundreds of retailers have already announced special Cyber Monday promotions
ranging from free shipping offers to flash sales lasting only an hour or two.
When it comes to Cyber Monday deals, shoppers know they can’t lose this
year," said Joan Broughton, interim executive director of Shop.org, in
a press release.

John Squire, chief strategy officer at IBM’s Coremetrics tracking
service, told The
Associated Press
that Cyber Monday sales were running 15 percent above
where they were last year as of 3 p.m. Eastern yesterday afternoon.

"The numbers are really strong," Mr. Squire told the AP.

Shawn Milne, an analyst with Janney Montgomery Scott, told Bloomberg
News
that
Cyber Monday sales could top $1 billion for the first time since the term was
coined by the National Retail Federation five years ago.

All signs point to
online sales growing this holiday season and grabbing a greater share of total
retail revenues. According to comScore, online sales in the U.S. for first
26 days of November were up 13 percent to $11.64 billion.

Brian Sozzi, an analyst
with Wall Street Strategies, questioned in a research note whether Cyber Monday
has been relegated to "relic" status. Mr.
Sozzi pointed to a number of factors that decreased the importance of the day,
including online promotions that started in the beginning of the month, increased
promotions of online deals before Thanksgiving, consumer access to smartphones
enabling greater flexibility when making purchases.

Discussion Questions: Is the effort behind Cyber Monday worth it for retailers?
Have the early promotions, smartphones and other factors made Cyber Monday
obsolete?

[Editor’s Note] Cyber Monday, while getting most of the hype, has not been
the top holiday sales producer for online merchants in past years. ComScore
had Dec. 15 as the top day for online sales in 2009.

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21 Comments on "Cyber Monday: The Hype and Sales Continue"


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Dan Berthiaume
Guest
Dan Berthiaume
10 years 5 months ago

Cyber Monday deals from online or multichannel retailers have become an assumption on the part of the US consumer. Offering them no longer makes a retailer stand out in a positive way, but not offering them makes a retailers stand out negatively.

Paul R. Schottmiller
Guest
Paul R. Schottmiller
10 years 5 months ago

The specific day (point in time) actually becomes less important as the revenue and influence associated with online becomes dramatically more important.

Charles P. Walsh
Guest
Charles P. Walsh
10 years 5 months ago

Cyber Monday, like Black Friday, is a “must participate” event for both online and brick and mortar retailers with .com businesses.

There is too much at stake for retailers (be they online or B&M) to ignore putting forth their best efforts at capturing their share of the money that will be spent on these important shopping days.

The only thing that would make Cyber Monday obsolete would be for another event to overtake it in significance to the consumer.

More importantly, at least for this year, is the question of how much of the total season’s purchasing has been consumed by the major discounts and promotions offered during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While retailers are reporting double digit increases in business now, will it flatten out with lessened demand mid December?

Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
10 years 5 months ago

Cyber Monday is definitely worth it. It’s about creating the buzz, awareness, and marketing. A consumer may not buy on Cyber Monday but the seed has been planted so when they are ready to shop, the thought of already knowing where to go and when to buy is there. A big part of marketing is perception and Cyber Monday is not just about sales, it’s building that perception of yes, go to this retailer for the best deals, best items, best delivery.

The other technology has a way to go before it is widely adapted among the older consumer.

Anne Howe
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

Online shopping will continue to increase because it’s efficient, convenient, and enjoyable. There are many levels of experience online retailers can explore to delight shoppers that are not strictly limited to the deal or the discount.

I personally had an experience with Zappos.com yesterday that delivered much more than a deal. It’s posted on http://www.shopperannie.com and recounts the delivery of three core brand values. I noted this morning through their on-site link to employee tweets that they broke all kinds of records on Monday, including a sales number of over $10 million. And, they sponsored an impromptu party for the Las Vegas based staff last night.

Some retailers really “get” how to connect with shoppers in the online space. Many are still learning, and hopefully testing experiences beyond throwing more coupons into the market. I think we’ll see more and more online retail success in the future that isn’t only about the discounts.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

The question isn’t if Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday work–it’s what can retailers think up for the other four days?

George Anderson
Guest
George Anderson
10 years 5 months ago

Retailers need to find a way to keep the excitement going. Got an email with a deal for Target Tuesday today.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

Consumers are going to continue to shop online on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…but in lieu of special deals, I wonder why more retailers do not consider making shipping free. That $6.95 shipping charge is a deal breaker, no matter what the specials are.

David Biernbaum
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

Cyber Monday is a necessity for all retailers because otherwise they will lose sales and market share to others. However, there are smart retailers that approach Cyber Monday in a smart way, and then there are all the “me too” retailers that approach the event in a very insincere and meaningless way that accomplishes nothing.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

Cyber Monday is here to stay as long as there is a Black Friday. Moreso, I can see Cyber Monday becoming a factor at different points in the year. I can see retailers coming together to create Cyber Mondays in February (President’s Day), May (Summer starts), August (Back to school) as well as November. The sales numbers forecast indicate this is a win/win for retailers and consumers.

Marge Laney
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

A bargain is a bargain and if I don’t have to leave my desk/couch to take advantage of it, all the better. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Target Tuesday, Super Saturday, whatever! Are they becoming irrelevant in the 24/7 internet world? Not while they chant 50-70% Off everything! But, can those who only draw customers by continuously discounting stay in business? Now there’s a question worth pondering.

Michael Tesler
Guest
Michael Tesler
10 years 5 months ago

Great stores and superior sites with appealing, unique products and /or “real” values participate in Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays without having to “give away the store” as their weaker rivals do. These stores not only win two days a year they win 365 times a year. The better the store and site the less they get caught up in the hype.

Ted Hurlbut
Guest
Ted Hurlbut
10 years 5 months ago

The nature of e-commerce is that it’s price driven, all of the available product information notwithstanding. The deal is the experience. In that way, Cyber Monday is no different than Black Friday–it’s great for consumers, as retailers/etailers drive volume by dropping prices (and margins). In the end, what’s great for consumers is ultimately unsustainable for all but the largest retailers/etailers.

Mel Kleiman
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

Consumers love a reason to buy and now only shop when the reason is price. Since most consumers have now been trained to buy when there is a special sale the retailer has created a vicious cycle which is not going to end. They are going to have to find more reasons to have a sale.

Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
10 years 5 months ago

Cyber Monday will get shoppers who didn’t want to stand in line at 5AM on Friday in the shopping spirit. There are many shoppers who really appreciate the convenience of online shopping for Christmas–click, pay and ship!

The timing is right to grab attention, and busy people will find a bit of time to explore what is on offer and make quick decisions. For so many, getting the Christmas shopping chore “done” is a great relief. Cyber Monday is the chance for retailers to catch online shoppers in the moment, show they have the “right stuff,” and offer good value.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

Count me among those who are unenthused about a concept whose name was “coined by the NRF five years ago” (no offense to that fine organization): sales will be about $1B, which is about 1/11th of the rest of November, which is probably about 5-10% of annual…IOW, no matter how you look at it, it’s a fraction of a drop in the sea of retail sales (and that’s not even considering how many of the sales would have taken place anyway, promotion or not).

Happy Holidays!

Phil Rubin
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

Cyber Monday is a misnomer as so many of these sales and promotions started long before yesterday. That said, while it’s really an artificial construct given online retail’s 24/7 ubiquity, unlike brick and mortar retail, to the extent that online merchants and the media make it a big deal, it ultimately becomes one.

It’s a lot of business and a lot of energy and investment apart of merchants and consumers. The ultimate question is whether it’s shifting sales across channel or calendar or if in fact a significant amount of yesterday’s business was truly incremental.

Mark Burr
Guest
10 years 5 months ago
Had I been a Black Friday shopper this year there were a couple of items that caught my eye as somewhat tempting. Nevertheless, I passed on the urge to grab a triple espresso and hang out overnight at Walmart. Out of curiosity, I checked multiple sources for the same items for specials on the so-called ‘Cyber Monday’. All sources (yes, ALL) that I checked were higher priced than any of the same items advertised for Black Friday. At the same speed of checking I was quickly turned off, my curiosity satisfied and the fleeting thought of a purchase wiped from my brain. There wasn’t even a comparable item priced even close to Black Friday. My real thought is that if the price is not equal to or less than Black Friday’s price, than why? After all, retailers have trained me to wait, be patient, and then swoop in at the end. Right? So what’s my impression of ‘Cyber Monday’? It couldn’t have been worth it for the retailers because it wasn’t worth it for the… Read more »
Christopher P. Ramey
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

The opportunity to leverage a perceived shopping day is immense. More so when it’s between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The importance of the Cyber Monday (or any given day for that matter) is limited by the expanding time provided for holiday shoppers.

Who knows? Maybe next year we’ll have Cyber Week….

Odonna Mathews
Guest
Odonna Mathews
10 years 5 months ago

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are required for retailers these days. They provide a perception of deals and good bargains, whether or not they actually exist. A case in point-I was disappointed to find that one item “on sale” for Cyber Monday was actually one cent less than what I paid for the same item “on sale” in October. So consumers beware.

Consumers also like choices for sales. Gap, for example, offers a 35% discount on purchases Dec 3-5 but an additional 15% off everything at Gap from Dec. 6-24 if you use your Gap card. 10% off is every Tuesday. So consumers can decide which sale they want.

Free shipping on your purchase in December is a definite plus for retailers to offer, and is now often expected (and appreciated) by consumers.

Tim Henderson
Guest
Tim Henderson
10 years 5 months ago

Cyber Monday may be an industry-created selling occasion, but it works. And that makes it worth every effort every retailer puts into it. As long as there are deals to be had, today’s savvy shoppers will keep clicking “buy” on the Monday after Thanksgiving. And I don’t see early promos interfering with Cyber Monday, primarily because not all shoppers shop at the same time. Some will see a deal in October and buy, others may shop on Black Friday and buy, and still others will shop on Cyber Monday and buy.

As for the growing use of smart phones for shopping, the smart phone is a shopping tool and a buying channel, just like a PC. And just like e-commerce, I expect an increasing number of merchants to look to m-commerce as another way to reach consumers with their messages and promos and get them to shop on Cyber Monday — and any other day of the year that they can entice consumers to buy.

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