Whether we like it or not, what we refer to as Black Friday, seems to be as entrenched in the British calendar as summers by the seaside and the January sales.
Originating in America (where else?) Black Friday traditionally takes place on the final Friday in November, which is also the day after Thanksgiving, and when traders look to sell-off surplus stock as they prepare for the run-up to Christmas.
A relatively new phenomenon in the UK, Black Friday has been somewhat adopted by the British in recent years, with scenes of shoppers fighting for products that have been hugely discounted dominating the front pages and 24 hour news channels.
But there is yet another ‘event’ that could soon be vying for a place in shoppers’ busy schedule – Cyber Monday.
So just what is Cyber Monday and how can business owners prepare for this latest celebration of consumerism?
What is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday, which rounds off the four-day weekend of sales.
Black Friday became a shopping sensation in the US because many Americans would take the day after Thanksgiving (which always falls on a Thursday) off work to have a long holiday weekend.
Retailers therefore cut prices on this Friday to get consumers into their stores to kickstart the Christmas shopping season.
But by the Monday, Americans were back at their desks – and retailers noticed that consumers were continuing their shopping online at their office computers.
When is it?
Cyber Monday always falls on the first Monday after Black Friday, which occurs the day after Thanksgiving, which is on the fourth Thursday in November (got all that?).
So this year, Cyber Monday is on December 2nd.
Why is it called Cyber Monday?
Ellen Davis, senior vice president of the National Retail Federation in the US, coined the term in 2005 after a press release with the title, “Cyber Monday Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year”, was issued.
It cited a study by Shop.org/BizRate Research, which found that 77% of online retailers had noticed a “substantial” increase in sales on the Monday following Thanksgiving in the previous year, “a trend that is driving serious online discounts and promotions on Cyber Monday this year”.
How different is it from Black Friday?
Because online shopping has become such a common way for people to shop, the difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday has blurred somewhat.
In 2014, online sales on Black Friday surpassed Cyber Monday spend for the first time in the UK, when consumers parted with £810m, compared to £720m on Cyber Monday.
This year, Experian-IMRG estimates online spend on Black Friday to jump 32% to £1.07bn, with Cyber Monday sales 31% higher at £943m.
Put simply, most retailers offer online deals throughout Black Friday weekend, but most unleash internet-only discounts solely on Cyber Monday.
Are you prepared?
If you are an online retailer you need to take Cyber Monday seriously, and fast.
The figures alone show how much people are now spending on this day, despite it being something of a new creation. So if you run a warehouse you need to be prepared for the onslaught that may be around the corner.
Time spent picking, packing and dispatching through various different couriers is time that could be spent fulfilling more online orders and achieving greater customer fulfilment.
Have you Considered WMS?
A bespoke warehouse management system is easy to implement, simple to use, and suitable for just about any type of warehouse.
Whether you’re involved in 3PL warehousing, transport, co-packing, fulfilment or e-commerce, or perhaps simply store your own goods, Optima’s WMS software can help you to run your warehouse more efficiently, more accurately and ultimately more cost effectively, particularly during some of the busiest times of the year.