It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving and most everyone is back in the office. But I wonder how many people, while plowing through their to-do lists and meetings, are actually keeping a weather eye on Cyber Monday sales and deals.
The Cyber Monday—the first Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend—first emerged as a shopping phenomenon in 2005. At the time, many people had to wait until they returned to their offices to shop online, the better to take advantage of high-speed connections. Fast forward to today, when most people’s home connections zip along at speeds that rival their souped-up corporate internets and people start asking whether we even need Cyber Monday anymore.
In point of fact, Cyber Monday is more important than ever. As of noon Eastern Time, early results from IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark report indicate that Cyber Monday 2012 will be a banner day for online sales, which are up 24.1 percent for this same time period over Cyber Monday 2011. The next logical question to ask is how that soaring growth can possibly be true, when the entire premise on which Cyber Monday was built, is really no longer valid for the average American consumer.
I suspect (and the numbers from our Benchmark report back this up) that Cyber Monday represents the new commerce reality—the shopping experience as it is lived by people everywhere. It’s no longer about physical bandwidth constraints. It’s all about recognizing that the way people engage with brands, opening their hearts and their wallets to them, has fundamentally changed. This is the reality of forging a relationship with what Brian Solis refers to as Generation C; these people aren’t defined by some vague and ultimately irrelevant demographic, but by their connected lifestyle: never far from their mobile phones or tablets, turning to their networks for advice and validation, and constantly melding their offline and online experiences into one.
Cyber Monday isn’t going anywhere for the same reason that Generation C is not a passing fancy: they represent a new age of consumerism. It’s happening all around us, even as you read this.
I agree that CyberMonday is still important, but from what I’ve seen this year and in the last few years, consumers are becoming accustomed to receiving crazy offers on and around CyberMonday. This year, for several of our clients, their best day was later in the week. It seems some customers now believe that retailers will go deeper with discounts if they don’t sell through on Cyber Monday and are willing to gamble they’ll do even better later in the game. This implies that there may be episodic peaks rather than one big one, as retailers launch multiple big or multi-day type incentives to get customers to open their wallets. I’ve also seen more delayed reward promotions taking prevalence lately, like spend X and get a gift card worth Y sent to you later or earn extra loyalty points.
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