This morning, the Monday morning after Thanksgiving in the United States, is one of the least productive business mornings in America. Employees across the country (and even around the world) are pulling out their credit cards and giving their employers headaches as they complete their holiday shopping. In fact, you’ve probably even stumbled across this post accidentally looking for the best Cyber Monday deals. It’s okay; I don’t mind.
But what is Cyber Monday, and when did it become a major holiday in line with the other holidays of this season? Most importantly, what can Cyber Monday mean for your business? To find the answers, we’ll have to rewind the clock to 10 years ago.
The Origins of Cyber Monday
First, to understand why Cyber Monday was created, you must first understand Black Friday. In the United States, Thanksgiving marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Because the federal holiday falls on the final Thursday, most employers give their employees the following Friday off too. As a result, many retailers tried to take advantage of a large portion of employed customers being available at once by offering “One-Day only” sales to kick-start their holiday sales season.
Fast forward to 2005. With the explosion of the Internet and e-Commerce in the 90’s, some companies focused on an e-Commerce only model (like eBay and Amazon.) These businesses needed a similar jump-start to their holiday season but had to focus on a different day because most of their target audience would be away shopping on Black Friday.
That’s when the idea of “Cyber Monday” was created. The term was coined by the National Retail Federation as the e-Commerce answer to Black Friday, allowing shoppers to find the gifts they couldn’t get on Black Friday at deals they can only find online.
Probably most infuriating for businesses – Cyber Monday is designed specifically to target your employees while they are at work. Retailers know they will be at their computers.
The Growth of Cyber Monday
Since it was inception in 2005, Cyber Monday has grown exponentially. What began as a small sale with a handful of retailers turned into over $2 Billion in sales in 2014. This year is projected to be even bigger.
What it Means for Your Business
For many businesses, winter can be a slower time regarding sales. Utilizing a promotion like Cyber Monday can help you reach your end-of-year goals and give you a much-needed boost into the slower business season.
It may be too late to implement any promotion for your business this year but take a look around at what some of the biggest companies in the world are doing for inspiration for next year.
Some of the most inventive Cyber Monday deals I’ve seen have specifically targeted existing email lists, offering a discount on a product or service and subtly nudging the user to pass along the email as a form of referral. These “Secret Cyber Monday” sales bring high quality leads to businesses of all sizes, without risking the loss of a bunch of potential sales to new audiences.
Get Online and Shopping!
This Cyber Monday, take some time to shop for yourself or gifts for your family. Think of it as research. Maybe you can be inspired to find a way to leverage Cyber Monday to make winter 2016 your best winter ever.
Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC