Online Retail Trend Breakdown: Cyber Week is Here

Bryce MarshallCyber Monday came and went very quickly. A term coined in 2005, Cyber Monday describes the emerging consumer trend of online shopping on the Monday following Thanksgiving. Now Cyber Monday is on the precipice, soon to be swallowed by a week-long retail micro-season: Welcome to Cyber Week.
Cyber Monday Reigns Again

2007 and 2008 data indicate Cyber Monday is the #1 online shopping day two years running. It's so dominant that, like "Black Friday" before it, "Cyber Monday" has been adopted into the common consumer lexicon (unlike Mobile Tuesday). Online retailers can now confidently call their Cyber Monday sales "Cyber Monday Sale." Subject line copywriters throughout North America are jubilant.

Cyber Monday’s Long Tail

Data from 2007 and 2008 (though early) also indicates an emerging carryover from Cyber Monday into Tuesday and even Wednesday. The distinctive spike seen on Cyber Monday is now a gently sloping plateau.

One of Knotice’s clients has seen online order activity through Tuesday and Wednesday that meets or exceeds Monday’s activity.

In recent years there has been a fairly significant online “aftershock” seen on the Monday following Cyber Monday. Combine Cyber Monday’s weeklong carryover with the Cyber Monday #2 aftershock effect and the argument doesn’t seem absurd:

Cyber Monday is quickly emerging as a week-long online shopping event. Consumer behavior is changing before our eyes.

Call it “BlackCyberFridayMonday”

In the last 30 years the retail holiday shopping season has become a 4-holiday, 3-month mashup from Halloween through the New Year. In the last decade consumers have been conditioned by aggressive Black Friday marketing, creating a consumer population that instinctively opens their wallets with the same uncanny regularity that takes the swallows to Capistrano. In the last three years, similar behavioral convergence has created a new shopping micro-season. This micro-season is defined less by the two milestone shopping days – Black Friday and Cyber Monday – as by the 5-day mashup, beginning in earnest with early online shopping on Thanksgiving Day and continuing as a hybrid retail-online event through Monday… and now beyond. The swallows are flocking to Capistrano – and settling down for a stay.

How to Leverage the Trend

Here are some quick tips to help leverage the trend:

  • There is time to build anticipation for a sales event.
  • There is time to “extend” a sale event to capture shoppers who were previously undecided, and those who just can’t quite keep their wallet closed.
  • There is time to re-send email campaigns to prospects who did not respond to the first offer. There is time to send a new offer to the ones who responded before, but did not buy.
  • There is time to test different offers and different messaging angles.

Online marketers can use this emerging behavior to their advantage. The consumer attention span has been expanded to what can be a 10-day shopping micro season. Consumers are researching, comparing and couponing. They know they have time to shop without risk of truly missing any “one day only” offers. This gives marketers a lot more flexibility – and time – to test and optimize their campaigns.

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