Sunday, November 29, 2009

Eco Cyber Monday

The term "Cyber Monday" refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday and marks the beginning of the online holiday shopping season when retailers offer bargains through online purchasing portals. The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports Cyber Monday spikes online sales.

Cyber Monday was invented by Shop.org, part of the US trade association NRF. It was first used during the 2005 holiday season. According to Scott Silverman, the head of Shop.org, the term was coined based on research showing that 77% of online retailers reported a significant increase in sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2004.

Cyber Monday has evolved into a significant marketing event. According to ComScore Networks, in 2005 the online spending on Cyber Monday was $486 million, a 26 percent increase from a year earlier. Total visits to shopping sites increased by 35 percent compared to a year earlier, according to Akamai Technologies. Comscore reported Cyber Monday sales of US 610 Million in 2006 and US 730 Million in 2007.

The Monitor's Mark Guarino reported that "between 2005 and 2008, Cyber Monday sales increased 74 percent, beating the 60 percent revenue increase for other days that have been online sales record-holders for the holiday season,” The NRF reported that 87 percent of retailers will have special Cyber Monday promotions this year, such as free shipping or one-day sales, up from 84 percent last year and 72 percent in 2007.

Rather than drive to stores and contend with crowds, on Cyber Monday many bargain shoppers will sit in front of their computers and search for deals from online retailers. On Cyber Monday, retailers are expecting a big increase in Internet purchasing.

Between now and the end of the year, the NRF expects that holiday sales will have dropped for the second year in a row, one percent this year and 3.4 percent in 2008. While traditional holiday shopping has declined for a second year in a row, Cyber Monday has been gaining momentum.

While some Americans may have been observing the anti-consumerist event known as “Buy Nothing Day”, there is a clear trend towards increased online purchasing and a growing subset of these consumers are interested in greener product offerings.

At RetailMeNot.com, they offer over 200,000 coupons for more than 40,000 stores. Here are a few of the bargains being offered by green retailers on Cyber Monday. GAIAM is offering 20% off selected items, with coupon code “AFCMGIFT, NIMLI is providing $1 silk scarves and 25% off any order with coupon code “CYBERMONDAY09.” TINY ARTICHOKE is giving 35% off all orders with coupon code “greencyber.”

Several sites are catering to Cyber Monday bargain hunters. These sites include cybermonday.net, cybermonday.fm, and cybermonday.com. These three sites offer standard items like computers and GPS devices from well known big boxes but only cybermonday.com offers a wide range of searchable environmental goods. Their products include:

65490 environmental products
27246 eco-friendly products
31157 eco products
21791 sustainable products
3766 ecology products

New buying behaviors are emerging alongside new product offerings. “The customer this year is very researched and very methodical,” said James Fielding, president of Walt Disney Co.’s Disney Stores. “I don’t think there’s a lot of impulse shopping going on. People are just being realistic about their personal situation and the economy.”

This new realism includes an awareness of the forces imperiling our planet as well as concerns about the veracity of green claims. The Internet has changed the way Americans shop and the online retail experience is increasingly offering an array of more ecologically sensitive products.
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