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Monday, Nov. 19, 2007 at 5:58 pm

Is “Cyber Monday” the New Black (Friday)?

By Robert Gorell
November 19th, 2007

Next Monday, November 26th, will be one of the busiest days of the year for e-commerce. It’s called “Cyber Monday”; the first day back at the office after the Thanksgiving break, when U.S. citizens blow-off the work they should be doing in favor of buying holiday gifts online. While it may be the worst possible news for your company’s productivity, Cyber Monday is great for online retail.

No coincidence, then, that like “Black Friday” — the day-after-Thanksgiving packaged goods consumption orgy that finds Americans flooding into shopping malls en mass, putting retailers “in the black,” so to say — the term “Cyber Monday” is actively promoted by the National Retail Federation (see also Shop.org). They’ve even dedicated a website, CyberMonday.com, to helping coupon code-clippers find the best deals online.

But is this just another pseudo-holiday, or do the numbers actually back it up? MarketingVOX shares some interesting data from the BDO Seidman Retail Compass Survey of CMO’s:

BDO_cyber_monday_graph.jpg

“The 5.03% holiday growth forecast is a full percentage point higher than the forecast of the National Retail Federation, but represents a large drop in optimism among retail CMOs when you consider this same group of professionals predicted 7.8% growth for the 2006 holiday season,” [said Al] Ferrara, a Partner in the Retail and Consumer Product Practice at BDO Seidman.

Just over half of the CMO’s polled are predicting a flat holiday season, while 41% expect to see some growth over last year. But time will tell, and these numbers rely heavily on the gut-feeling of Chief Marketing Officers; a naturally self-assured breed, whose average job lifespan remains significantly shorter than the gestation period of a baby elephant.

What do you think? Is Cyber Monday here to stay, or has its past impact had more to do with something like broadband adoption (i.e., people doing their online shopping at work because they don’t have Web access at home) than the birth of a lasting trend?

Any e-tailers out there running special promotions for Cyber Monday?

UPDATE: The ExpertSEM blog explains some research showing that “Cyber Monday” is really just the starting point in a four-week series of happy Mondays for e-commerce.

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Comments (10)

  1. To turn Cyber Monday’s shopping into giving, a new way people can act more socially responsible is by using http://www.maatiam.com. It’s a new web site that turns online purchases into donations to your favorite charity without costing you or the nonprofit a dime.

    Anytime you use maatiam.com and shop at any of our 200 prominent online partnered merchants, a percentage of your purchase is donated to the nonprofit of your choice. You pay the same price for the item as you normally would.

    The donations don’t cost consumers a dime. And now nonprofits have a free and effortless way to raise funds.

  2. Caroline,

    Wow, that’s really cool! Thank you so much for sharing. What a smart thing to do…

  3. I am planning on sending out sales emails to all of my customers and website subscribers. I am a little unsure how best to do it, right now. How many times I can email my list and still be courteous to my list. I was actually thinking of emailing tomorrow, Wednesday and hopefully beat the crowd of emails in their in box coming after Thanksgiving. I was then thinking about emailing twice or 3 times more before Christmas. I noticed ProFlowers seems to be emailing about weekly now. But I am open to change things if I get some feedback suggesting a better way. I do not want to spam my list, but some people like to get the emails as reminders.

    Any feedback on these ideas?

  4. I will be buying a lot of my holiday presents online this year but not on the official Cyber Monday. As reported in my blog we use Atlas’ institute information to figure out when the best online shopping day is. It is not the Monday after black friday but rather December 10th this year. That will be the real cyber monday.

  5. Audio Bible,

    It’s tricky. Obviously, this is an important time of year for your business. But instead of focusing on the “how often” (although that’s very important) give much more thought to what you actually say in the emails. Don’t think “email blast” to your list. If that’s the case, each one of those emails has the potential to come off as spam. Instead, consider how you phrase the emails, and be sure to tell a story with each one. See if you can give an example of one of your customers who was grateful to give or receive on audio Bible for Christmas last year. Something like that might go a long way.

    You’ll definitely want to read Brian Bond’s post from today, and it’s also worth checking out an article I wrote last year — both of which are about emails from exceptional small businesses.

    Hope that helps!

  6. NanuNanu,

    Holy shazbot! Excellent post. Very interesting to see how Cyber Monday is really just the kick-off for the three weeks of Mondays that follow, all of which seem to drive more sales than Cyber Monday.

    So, it seems there’s some truth to it, but there’s also a bit of “limited time only” hype in the mix. Now the question is, “Why not a month of Cyber Monday deals?”

  7. Thanks, NanuNanu

    Good information, and I think pretty correct. I was thinking of running a 12 days of Christmas sale. Marking down one item per day ( a 1 day sale) on 12 different items. I can center my emails around the period of Dec. 3rd to Dec. 15th. This will cover your chart for highest sales volume days. I am not sure once I place the first item on SUPER sale, to leave it up just one day or leave it up the full 12 days and then remove all the items for the SUPER sale, at once. I will be generating emails for each of the items. 12 emails to my list in 12 days? Or send 4 emails over the 12 day period with 3 items each in the emails. I do not want to spam my list.

    Any feedback?

    Thanks…….and Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

  8. Great post.
    Already the department stores here (Australia) are sending around those viral emails. And the frenzy seems to be picking up speed.

  9. [...] “Cyber Monday” c’est le lundi où les Américains retrouvent le travail après le congé de [...]

  10. I was reading this post and just noticed that it is a year old. I think Cyber Monday is here to stay. In fact, we have been tracking online deals and noticed that some of the deals are even better than Black Friday.

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