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Both Online and In-Store Shopping Continues To Be Driven By Technology

Cyber Monday, which is the Monday after Black Friday, was originally put together by e-commerce companies (think Amazon.com) in an attempt to give people an online buying day similar to Black Friday. It’s been successful each year since its inception. According to online retailers, it’s estimated that online holiday sales will top $43.4 billion this year.

What’s interesting about Cyber Monday these days, though, is that traditional brick and mortar retailers like Kohl’s, Sears, Macy’s, and JC Penney’s have joined in. That means they not only have their Black Friday deals, but they also have their own special online promotions. Remember, back when Cyber Monday was created, places like Kohl’s, Sears, Macy’s, and JC Penney’s didn’t have much of an online e-commerce presence.

So today, Cyber Monday is no longer just for e-commerce only companies. Now, anyone can shop online at any retailer and get a deal. Unfortunately, this cuts down on the uniqueness of Cyber Monday. Additionally, these retailers are extending their Cyber Monday deals for many days out, which not only dilutes what Cyber Monday is, but it also cuts into December margins. Even though this strategy may drive some sales in the present, it can hurt in the long-term.

One of the reasons so many physical retailers have joined Cyber Monday and beefed up their online shopping capabilities has to do with a problem called showcasing—a retaining problem I predicted several years ago where people go into stores to see the products but then order the products online using their smart phone or tablet. As mobile devices become more powerful, this showcasing issue becomes more common—with people actually making their online purchase right from the store. By having online deals and participating in Cyber Monday, retailers are hoping that if consumers buy online, they buy from the store they visited and not from a store like Amazon.

Of course, retailers would ultimately prefer that customers buy from the physical store while they are in the shop. To encourage more in-store sales, retailers need to make sure they’re focusing on the customer’s in-store experience and making it as positive as possible. That’s really the only way to make sure people come back to their stores way after December and into the New Year, rather than just shop online.