Cyber Monday Mania

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How did you shop over the Thanksgiving weekend? If you’re like a growing number of consumers, you may have taken advantage of in-store craziness on Black Friday but by the end of the weekend, you and 226 million of your fellow bargain hunters were looking forward to the quiet and comfort of virtual shopping at home. It was a good long weekend for online retailers, too. Black Friday raked in $816 million and Cyber Monday has been projected to generate a record-breaking $1.2 billion, both increases over last year.

I have been cyber shopping year round for more than a decade and it’s been a godsend during the holidays. Moving away from the city to the rural countryside made the transition from in-store to virtual shopping much easier for me since I am hours from the nearest shopping center and have little in the way of local conveniences, but to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. While I love and miss the holiday ambiance that city streets and malls provide this time of year, it’s not my cup of tea to be shoulder to shoulder with other shoppers, scrapping for the last pair of fuzzy slippers or the latest talking Elmo doll. I’ve become accustomed to the comfort and convenience of shopping from home whenever I want to, whether that’s at 2pm or 2am. I don’t have a checkout line to worry about, the online store knows me thanks to my username and password, and I can move through the store anonymously and with ease. I always have my past shopping history at my fingertips, I know what I’ve purchased and when, and I can add to my wish list any time I want to for future online shopping visits.

As a regular online shopper, my inbox has been crammed full of offers for the past couple of weeks from my favorite retailers, those I seldom visit, and even some I don’t frequent at all. While others may find it annoying to have an inbox full of marketing promotions, I’d trade it for a post office box full of direct mail advertisements any day. If I don’t want an offer, I’d much rather hit the delete key than throw away a perfectly good paper catalog. It’s greener, less annoying, and I can unsubscribe from a retailers distribution list at any time.

My only problem with cyber shopping at the holidays is this. By the time I click on the embedded links to check on the products I want, I usually see the dreaded words “sold out online.” Now granted, it’s probably my own fault for the most part because I’ve been conditioned to shop when it’s convenient for me, not the rest of the world, and I am not one to rise at 4am to get the jump on my fellow consumers. However, even the emails I opened upon receipt later in the day garnered the same results.

I’m not sure if I’m alone, or if it’s due to the fact that your fingers may be faster than mine on the keyboard, but it was a bit of a let down. I know that product quantities are limited, and I’m competing with tens of thousands of consumers who are receiving the sale notices the same time I am, but it’s a disappointment nonetheless. Maybe there is an opportunity here for retailers to step up quantities on these special selling days, or target special offers for their frequent customers that aren’t going to be sold out the minute we check on an item online.

All in all, though, I can’t complain too much. The deals I’ve seen in the weeks leading up to Cyber Monday have been strong, and until this past weekend, I didn’t have a problem getting what I wanted at a pretty good price. As one who is woefully and perpetually behind in her holiday shopping, I am looking forward to more exciting promotions from my favorite retailers and I have a feeling I won’t be disappointed.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Teresa Sinel
Teresa Sinel is the Director of Operations, Analytics and Innovation for VIPdesk, the award-winning pioneer of home-based virtual customer care solutions for global brand leaders committed to enhancing their brand experience. Serving over 40 client programs and 10 million customers, VIPdesk specializes in delivering Concierge Programs, Contact Center Services, and loyalty programs for national brand leaders in the travel, auto, financial services, real estate and retail industries.

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