Friday, November 30, 2012

Is Cyber Week (Formerly Cyber Monday) The New Normal?

With today marking the official close of “Cyber Week” it’s a good time to reflect on the trend that seems to have invaded and completely taken over the last days of November.

What’s the Deal With “Cyber Monday?”

“Cyber Monday” is a term for the Monday after Thanksgiving with the idea being that many people take two days off from work for Thanksgiving - Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday. That Friday following Thanksgiving has become known as “Black Friday” because stores that may have been losing money and “in the red” all year make so much money with the surge of sales on this day that their books are now “in the black.”

Around the year 2005, online retailers started noticing a surge on online sales on the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday. It made sense because the shopping mood carried over to the first day back at work and people who work with computers were using their work computers to do online shipping.

The day became known as “Cyber-Monday” as the popularity of online shopping increased and became mainstream. The first day back at work after the Thanksgiving holiday has become a holiday of sorts in and of itself. It has since grown into one of the biggest shopping days of the year. In fact, the reports are that Cyber Monday 2012 has been the best CyberMonday ever in terms of dollars spent on goods purchased.

Since most people shop online the first week after Thanksgiving, it has now become "CyberWeek." A lot of people do this at work (whether the boss is watching or not).

Even Community Business College decided to pitch in by offering 26% off the tuition of all its classes. This will last all week and be the school's CyberWeek 2012 deal.

The “week” in Cyber Week is only 5 days, of course. Monday through Friday based around the fact that most office workers only work those days of the week.

Cyber-Week is being broken down into its component days.

One group is promoting “Small Business Saturday.” Small Business Saturday is supposed to encourage holiday shoppers to patronize local “real” brick and mortar businesses with an emphasis on the small business shops.

There’s “Green Tuesday,” which is supposed to inspire consumers to make thoughtful, purposeful, environmentally minded shopping choices.

Sofa Sunday is named for the place and time where many people shop with their iPads.

Push Back

It's gotten so exreme that some brave retailers are now declaring Thanksgiving Day to be fair game and have started calling it “Black Thursday” with stores opening during various times on Thanksgiving Day in order to get the early, early crowds. Is that taking things too far? Some think so. As with so many things now, there are always people who try to counter the trends.

This push back is taking different forms.

Landing on the same day as Green Tuesday (there are only so many days in the week from which to choose) is Giving Tuesday, an event designed to encourage people to donate to worthy causes.

And even Buy Nothing Day on the Friday after Thanksgiving being championed by a Canadian activist group where instead of buying things, people are encouraged to not buy anything.

Still, with more tools at hand than ever before, savvy shoppers can get good deals online all the way through the end of November now before the big Christmas rush.

What can defeat this spreading of extreme shopping?

Technology might provide the answer with making stores adapt every day to “Black Friday” deals.

There are, of course, the daily deal websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial and SweetJack. They allow individual retailers to offer more specialized deals every day.

And now smartphones are getting into the act. There are now apps that allow you to price compare on items while you are in the store. That means if you find something you like in the local department store, you can search to see if it’s cheaper on Amazon or even down the street. But stores are getting wise to it and have started sending the ability to send coupons immediately to your smartphone to keep you in the store. 

The website is all about leveraging data and technology to help shoppers predict and get the best deals. It uses a text mining algorithms across the world web to enable shoppers to get the best deals on their items possible.

They offer “Decide Score” which is a product rating system. It incorporates millions of user and expert reviews, recency of reviews, and scores from previous models to bring you the most data-driven, unbiased and useful product recommendations.

Decide advises you to buy or wait based on our proprietary price and model predictions. Our price predictions are right 77% of the time, and when they are we save you $101 per product on average.

Someday you may never have to worry about paying a price only to find it cheaper somewhere else at a later time. Price predictions help you pull the trigger on a sale with confidence and save money. Decides prediction algorithms utilize billions of observed price movements and over 40 distinct factors. Another feature allows you set up sales alerts for your future product purchase to be in the know about price changes, rumors and product releases.

So while all the competition is for getting your shopping dollars on Black Friday, CyberMonday and the holiday shopping seasons that follows, maybe in the near future we’ll see these types of deals all year round. Would you really miss getting up at 4 AM on the Friday after Thanksgiving to go stand in long, cold lines? And on the following Monday, you could not worry about missing a great deal while the boss peers over your should to see if you’re working or shopping.

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