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Black Friday versus Cyber Monday: A Business User’s Guide

Posted December 1, 2013  |  written by  |  The Executive Corner

They’re known around the country as two of the biggest buying days of the calendar year. In fact, they’re so culturally significant that some even consider them pseudo national holidays. And for some businesses, the financial health of the entire year hinges on these critical days.

Days like these require a targeted operations strategy. Here’s the lowdown on Black Friday and Cyber Monday–plus, a critical time- and resource-saving trick we’ve learned about these uniquely seasonal events over the past decade.

Christmas comes early on Black Friday for the brick-and-mortar set

Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving widely regarded as the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Since 2003, it’s also the busiest shopping day of the year. Competition between stores in the same industries have launched some fairly unique campaigns–like extending sales beyond normal hours (into Thanksgiving Day for some operations) or by giving free gifts away to shoppers.

Cyber Monday is the net-centric business’ opportunity to shine

In 2005, Cyber Monday became the marketing angle for the Monday after Thanksgiving offering discounts and incentives to persuade people to shop online–and a very successful one. Plus, in a remarkable revenue surge, Cyber Monday saw a 17% increase in sales in 2012 from 2011–an increase totaling $1.465 billion.

Now this annual ritual finds employees shopping from work to get the best deals away from the prying eyes of family members and friends.

What we’ve learned about navigating these two ‘holidays’

We’ve discovered that there is a place for both shopping days on the calendar based on your medium of sales. Basically, Black Friday is an in-store day, whereas Cyber Monday works primarily for e-retailers.

In the early days, we used to have InkHead employees come in on Black Friday–but experienced a 50% drop in revenue. However, on Cyber Monday, we enjoyed a 75% increase in revenue. So, now we give our employees Black Friday off, and Cyber Monday is ‘all hands on deck’.

And, the benefits? Here’s what we’ve found:

  • A four day weekend lead-up ensures our team is refreshed and ready for our biggest single day of the year
  • When our employees shop on Black Friday, we enjoy greater productivity on Monday
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