Recent announcement from major retailers are highlighting the changes that are happening to the traditional kickoff of the holiday shopping season
Traditionally, Black Friday has been the one day of the year when retailers bring out their best deals and bargain hunters kick off the shopping season by searching for some significant discounts. The largest savings were reserved for those who were willing to stand in line at 3:00 AM just for a chance to grab some big ticket items at reduced prices. Cyber Monday deals have changed that for many consumers and retailers.
In previous years, retailers would never consider crossing that 12:00 AM line and start their specials on Thanksgiving Day, but that’s exactly what is happening this year. Retailers need to move their products, and they’re opening earlier and earlier to try and get an edge on the competition to secure a portion of the limited supply of consumer dollars.
This year, Best Buy, Target, Kohl’s and Macy’s have all announced that they will open at midnight on Friday, while Toys ‘R’ Us will open its doors at 9:00 on Thanksgiving and Wal-Mart will open shortly afterward at 10:00. Wal-Mart will also offer different deals at 10:00 and midnight, so shoppers will actually be incentivized to come back and shop again.
Another major change is the move away from the Thanksgiving newspaper ads that announced the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Now companies will send out fliers a few weeks in advance and use tools like email lists and Twitter feeds to keep their shoppers appraised of the coming deals.
A lot of this change occurred after Cyber Monday became such a relevant part of the shopping season back in 2005. Retailers started noticing the increased Web traffic on the Monday after Black Friday and began offering more online deals to keep the shopping momentum going. Suddenly the best deals weren’t necessarily at the door. Now it was possible to sit home in your warm house and find some impressive discounts that were just as good as the Black Friday laptop deals at the big box stores.
Without the physical restraints that brick and mortar locations have, the Cyber Monday deals did not stay within the boundaries of that day. Online retailers did not see the need to limit their potential when they found huge traffic spikes on Thanksgiving Day. This year, many stores, including Wal-Mart, are even offering a range of online-only deals, and they will be offered throughout the weekend.
With Cyber Monday ignoring the day it was named for, it was only a matter of time before retailers would try to expand the boundaries around Black Friday and create opportunities to increase their returns at the beginning of the hectic shopping season.