For many years on Thanksgiving Eve a marketing campaign introduced by an ever expanding number of companies quickly evolved into a common annual past-time. This tradition, according to many, has come to symbolize the official start of the holiday season.
Referred to simply as Black Friday, eager consumers looking to brave the late night elements, more than likely after feasting on Thanksgiving turkey, cranberries and stuffing, look to hit retail stores at midnight in order to acquire the most popular items at a lower price, as well as getting an early start to their holiday shopping season. The main draw of such an unconventional event, which results in crowds of people waiting by the doors hours before being open to the public, is based primarily on the rare deals that are offered for that day and that day only.
Despite the popularity and success of Black Friday, retailers remained focused on developing new ways to encourage consumer turnout, specifically during the fourth quarter business cycle. So in 2005, thanks in large part to the advancements in technology, a website called Shop.org decided to take advantage of the increasing number of buyers with access to online purchases via personal computers and the world wide web. An ambitious marketing campaign referred to simply as “Cyber Monday” was introduced for the following Monday after Thanksgiving which would offer shoppers the ability to find great deals on a variety of products without out having to leave their own homes.
While not as popular or profitable as Black Friday at first, Cyber Monday firmly established itself as the most prominent online shopping day of the year. Other retailers quickly jumped on board understanding the undeniable potential of such an event and in turn revising their overall holiday marketing strategies on an annual basis. More still, websites such as cybermonday2013.io hopped on the Cyber Monday bandwagon by offering consumers one place to see all of the best deals for many, many merchants.
In 2013, amidst some outrage and controversy, a certain number of retailers including Wal-Mart, Sears and Old Navy along with grocery stores like Kroger and Whole Foods have now chosen to open their doors on the day of Thanksgiving (now being referred to as Grey Thursday) as a way to increase sales while offering customers with even more opportunities to get their shopping done a lot sooner.
The obvious concern, however, from a business standpoint was the impact, if any; it would have on Cyber Monday. At best the effect of an expansion of Black Friday will be minimal based on many factors including convenience along with simple preference. While many shoppers will jump at the chance to venture out and find some rare deals on the day of Thanksgiving others will hesitate to spend the majority of their holiday dealing with the chaotic crowds while taking a chance that they will come away empty handed.
And even though online shopping has not proven to be completely reliable, especially during the holidays due to high volume, more and more customers are realizing the advantages of being able to acquire detailed information about their desired product while comparing prices in the most efficient way possible. More importantly the integration of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets has led to a steady increase in its popularity as more options become available to the average consumer.
So while the retail industry continues to push the proverbial envelope coming up with new and innovative ways to attract live customers there is little they can do to stifle progress as society’s overall reliance on an ever evolving system predicated on taking full advantage of todays technology will continue to grow with every passing day.