Why the day that officially begins the joyous Christmas season has such a dismal name, we may never know. Perhaps Black Friday is named for the many stores that open while it is still dark, drawing in eager customers with loss leaders and phenomenal deals.
Although industry experts claim Black Friday is the shopping day that pulls many companies back into the black financially, the traffic jamming shopping mall parking lots and pumping exhaust into the wintry air may better deserve the title. Whatever the reason, Black Friday, and more recently the online equivalent, Cyber Monday, are milestones for retailers of every kind all across America.
The day after Thanksgiving is not a national holiday, but is typically offered as such to employees. Free from work to get started on Christmas shopping, customers swarm to retailers to take advantage of incredible deals, presented to consumers to draw them in the door. From enduring bumper-to-bumper traffic on the streets and in the parking lots, to standing in hour-long lines, customers are willing to go through a lot to get the perfect gift, not to mention the pocketbook-pleasing price.
A recent but rickety trend that shadows Black Friday, Cyber Monday is trying hard to live up to its brick-and-mortar cousin. Customers returning to work after a long and exhausting weekend whirlwind of shopping rely on the fast internet connections at the office to find the products that were not on the shelves on Black Friday.
Recently, retailers are making moves to push Cyber Monday up to new levels. This year, over seventy percent of retailers planned special promotions for Cyber Monday, up thirty percent from 2005. Apparently, this paid off, with approximately $485 million dollars flying from customers to retailers through cyberspace.
Not Too Late
Although Cyber Monday has come and gone, it’s not too late to take advantage of the online holiday shoppers this year. Online shoppers aren’t in quite as big of a hurry as those employees with one day to hit the stores, since they have more days available to shop.
With speedy and often discounted shipping available up until Christmas Eve in some cases, customers can shop at their leisure. More and more shoppers are finding the convenience of shopping online preferable to the hustle and bustle of going out and braving the lines and traffic. With recent and tragic events at some shopping sites, more customers may choose to shop from the safety and comfort of their own homes.
Comparison Shopping Sites
To tap into this market, many online retailers rely on their own advertising efforts in combination with referrals from comparison shopping sites. These sites do the comparison shoppers’ work for them, finding the best deals by searching retail websites electronically then presenting the findings to the public.
Some comparison shopping sites allow retailers to post coupons to entice customers. Sites such as these are increasingly popular among online shoppers. In October 2007, more than 50 million visitors checked out deals on comparison shopping search engines such as Shopzilla.com, Froogle.com, and Pricegrabber.com.