We’ve known about Black Friday (News - Alert) – the day after Thanksgiving when America hits retail stores to begin Christmas shopping – for a long time. Newer to our lexicon is “Cyber Monday (News - Alert),” the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend, when the nation hits retailers’ websites to place e-commerce orders.
Once barely a blip on the radar of the holiday retail season, Cyber Monday has now become big business, and retailers are increasingly relying on it for making their Christmas targets. In fact, it has become the biggest online shopping day of the year, and this year is expected to surpass all previous Cyber Mondays. By some estimates, Cyber Monday 2012 may see online sales up more than 20 percent last year with sales topping the $1 billion mark.
The nation’s largest online retailer, Amazon, may see a significant portion of the business, and the e-tailer has ramped up its temporary staff to meet demand. Amazon.com (News - Alert) vice president Craig Berman told CBS News' Seth Doane that the company hired 50,000 seasonal workers to help fill orders.
Image via Shutterstock
"We feel good about the season," Berman said. "We feel this is the going to be our best holiday season to date ... we really do ... We have grown every year and we see no reason to believe that we won't have a great holiday season,” he added.
The nation’s economy could certainly use such a boost.
Unwilling to cede all the Cyber Monday business to Amazon, the nation’s brick-and-mortar stores have taken steps to beef up their online presence to help them retain a slice of the e-commerce pie.
But Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be in the process of merging. Increasingly, shoppers are not confining themselves to brick and mortar stores on Friday and the Internet on Monday. As technologies converge and more customers have smartphones at their disposal, the two events are converging.
Shoppers are no longer buying offline on some days, and online on others, CNN is reporting. They're shopping on both simultaneously, often whipping out their smartphones or tablets in-store to run price comparisons. Many shoppers visit physical stores to examine products only to place their orders on the stores’ websites…sometimes while they’re still in the store. Others order online and arrange to pick up their purchases in-store.
As a result, increasingly, it’s becoming difficult to separate Black Friday sales from Cyber Monday sales, and in the not very distant future, retailers may find they have one big converged brick-and-mortar and multimedia event: maybe they can call it “Multimedia Madness.”
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Edited by Brooke Neuman