High-Tech Marketing Marks Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Shoppers are expected to set their alarms early Friday morning to hit the stores in droves, but they’ll also find a few goodies waiting for them in their e-mail inboxes, too.

In what has been an increasing trend in recent years, online retailers are preparing a wide range of promotions and deals to capitalize on what has become their most important shopping weekend of the year.

Just as the Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as Black Friday because of its importance to retailers reaching profitability, or being “in the black,” the Monday after Thanksgiving is known as “Cyber Monday,” after online retailers notice a trend of people shopping online on the Monday following Thanksgiving.

According to its eHoliday survey conducted by BizRate Research, online retailers are expected to offer everything from “doorbuster deals,” to free shipping to promotional gifts to entice consumers. The marketing campaigns will range from special e-mail campaigns (32 percent percent), to specific deals (30 percent percent), to one-day sales (29 percent percent). In addition, 25 percent of retailers are expected to offer free shipping on purchases.

The survey found that 72 percent of online retailers are planning special promotions for this year’s Cyber Monday, up from 43 percent from 2005.

“As more people rely on the Internet for holiday shopping, retailers have stepped up their game to compete,” says Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org, an association for online retailers.

Companies may also notice a dent in their employees’ productivity over the next week. According to a separate survey conducted by BIGresearch for Shop.org, 55 percent of office workers with Internet access, or 68.5 million people in the United States, will shop for holiday gifts from work this year. That compares to 51 percent in 2006, and 45 percent in 2005.

Men are more likely to be guilty of shopping on the company’s dime, 57 percent for men versus 52 percent for women, and young adults are the most likely to buy online (73 percent).

Despite the anticipated increase in online shopping, the annual migration to the malls isn’t expected to abate. According to its latest survey, the National Retail Federation expects as many as 133 million Americans will hit stores over the Thanksgiving weekend.

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