Just a decade ago, online shopping wasn’t really a “thing” and the concept of Cyber Monday didn’t even exist. Now 10 years later, the almighty internet has integrated itself into almost every aspect of life including the consumer retail experience, which is why 2014’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and kick off to the holiday shopping season were saved thanks to online sales.

The biggest shopping weekend of the year saw a 7% dip in sales at brick-and-mortar stores while online retailers recorded double-digit growth from 2013 stats. Online retail giant Amazon enjoyed a 24% spike over Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, proving a gravitation towards purchasing via the internet versus from a physical store location.

In addition to providing a calmer, headache-free shopping process, the internet has also given consumers the chance to buy items that are not necessarily tangible but instead, experiential. Gadgets and the latest technological devices are always among the most popular purchases over this particular weekend due to all the deep discounts available.

However, because of the internet, consumers have the option and capability to give the gift of experiences such as concert tickets, salon spa packages, painting classes or even an all-inclusive trip to Hawaii. Businesses are reshaping their marketing strategies to meet this consumer attraction to make purchases like these.

On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Expedia, a travel booking website, offered to take 90% off select 4-star hotels – exclusive, enticing savings are a prime example of how the internet is starting its own Black Friday tradition that’s only applicable in the virtual environment.

Aside from paying for gas, traveling to a store is essentially considered a free activity. In order to compete with this aspect of traditional shopping, the internet has become more accessible to anyone and everyone.

Carriers like T-Mobile aid the demand for internet by providing affordable, and sometimes even free, 4G LTE data packages. The service provider has also increased the data limit on their wireless hotspots at no extra cost, encouraging overall mobile usage and directly boosting e-commerce occurrence. To add, sales through a mobile device accounted for nearly 50% of total online sales during Black Friday.

It’s safe to assume that access to the internet paired with the upward trending emergence of tablets and smartphones contributes to quenching this thirst for online retail consumption.

Shopping has become easier than ever before and as time goes on, crucial economic shopping periods will continue to evolve with internet-driven deals. And apart from being the platform for online transactions, the internet has harmoniously been a major method for how promotion is spread.

Product details, what sales are out there, and competitive analysis can all be found online, giving buyers the power to make educated decisions on their next potential investment.

As mobile devices continue to become readily available to an increasing number of the population, advertising will move away from cable and televised commercials and towards YouTube-housed video clips, timed email promotions, clickable advertisements, and targeted social media posts displaying shareable promo codes.

Moreover, the use of smart technology and its ability to capture analytics and customer behavior data will only fuel retailers to capitalize on this information and leverage it to hone in on target demographics and improve overall shopping experience.

Consumption, how it’s done and where it’s done, is all changing to be geared with internet-enabling in mind. And based on insightful sales numbers, online shopping will predictably grow. In the future, post-turkey shopping will probably still be a tryptophan-induced event but the dreaded trip to the store will likely be eliminated all together.

Guest Contributor
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