- Social Media Tip: In the “Thank-you Economy” don’t outsource or automate your thank-you’s.
- Social Media Trend: Community building skills are becoming more important than pitching or selling.
Holiday Online Shopping
The holiday gift buying frenzy is over, but now what do you do with those gifts that you have received that you will never use? Fortunately, there are some alternatives for you to deal with the unwanted gifts.
Last year about one third of gift recipients returned gifts back to the stores. Over the last few years stores have gotten smarter, thus making returns easier. Including a gift receipt with the item certainly helps the process and 6 out of 10 consumers say they have included the gift receipt with the item. The gift receipt omits the price of the item. While most store return policies remained the same in 2010, a few extended their return periods. However, some stores added restocking fees or limited the return policies of opened items. Sometimes there are different rules for electronics vs. clothing and in-store vs. online purchases. And, most of us know that if there is no receipt the store may opt to provide only store credit or no refund at all.
Stores with deadlines of Jan. 31st include Amazon, Buy.com and Best Buy. Many have 90 return policies i.e. Toys R Us, Target and Costco. Returns on electronics are often stricter. Read the rest of this entry »
A gift card is one of the most asked for gifts from tweens and teens and are a no-brainer for shopping. All you need to know is their favorite store. They are the most requested gift by 57% of the public. But, they are also a source of confusion due to problems from years past where consumers lost their entire balance on the card from waiting too long to use it.
This year retailers and banks will sell about $88 billion of gift cards a year. Shoppers are expected to spend more than $24 billion on plastic or e-cards this holiday season according to the National Retail Federation. The average gift card buyer will spend more than $145 compared to $139 last year. What is amazing is that approximately $7 billion of gift cards were not used last year.
Also, last year many held onto Circuit City cards that were no longer good because they went out of business. Those cards were valueless, but now consumers have protection from federal laws that were passed in August and some states like Florida offer additional protection.
What brought about these changes were numerous consumer complaints against outrageous fees and declining balances. Things got so bad that, in 2007, the Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with Kmart stores and the parent company of Red Lobster restaurants over deceptive gift card practices. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week I had given my readers notice that December 17 was Free Shipping Day for most online retailers. It turns out that it was one of the busiest online shopping days ever. Market researcher comScore said that Free Shipping Day generated $942 million in online sales, up 61 percent from a year earlier. Reports so far indicate that the 2010 Holiday season has been the best ever for online retail sales.
What is important about this is that online sales are one of the economic indicators of the overall economy. Plus, this is another validation that brick and mortar stores need to pay attention to the movement to the internet in order to survive. These online stores are doing a good job in promoting to the consumer to take them out of the mall for their last minute purchase. The strong performance shows that online merchants are perfecting their promotions and are getting better at targeting consumers with the right offers.
What is Free Shipping Day?
There has been strong online shopping all this Holiday season. Free Shipping Day (when 1,500 online merchants offered free shipping) was eclipsed by Cyber Monday (Nov. 29), which saw sales of $1.028 billion, and by Green Monday (Dec. 13), at $954 million. Year to date, the first 47 days of the November-December shopping season generated $27.46 billion in sales, up 12 percent from a year ago. Cyber Monday is now expected to become the busiest shopping day of the year; that’s a first for the first Monday after Thanksgiving. Read the rest of this entry »
Did you know that December 17th is known as Free Shipping Day to the Online Community? This is when the “last minute” shoppers get lucky with guaranteed gift delivery by Christmas Eve – if they order from leading retailers.
You can verify which retailers are offering this promotion by going to www.FreeShippingDay.com. They will have a list of up to 1,000 retailers that are expected to take part in this program this year. Last year there were about 750 retailers that did free shipping on that day. There may be some retailers that have rules such as minimum purchases, but to be included on the site all of the retailers must provide some free shipping offers on Dec. 17 and ensure delivery within one week.
I will share with you a funny story. My husband is notorious for being the guy at the Mall on December 24th. He is frantic over trying to select some presents for me. Of course, everything is usually picked over. Last year we bought our own Online Shopping Mall where we receive cash back from all of our purchases. We also receive email specials and coupon codes. I am proud to say that he did all of his shopping online through our site. And, he even made one purchase on December 22 from Overstock .com that came in on December 24! Read the rest of this entry »
How To Find The Great Deals
Want to get a head start on the best bargains for Black Friday or Cyber Monday? You do not have to wait. Many major retailers have started offering Black Friday deals starting now and now is the time to come up with a game plan.
This year shoppers will be able to use an unprecedented variety of sources for these deals, including the retailer’s website. Black Friday ads, mobile phone apps, shopping circulars, mailings newspapers ads and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Nearly everyone knows that Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving where shoppers rise early and hit the malls to find mark downs and bargains. This is the busiest shopping day of the year and I have seen reports of injuries where people get trampled when the retailer opens their doors. Read the rest of this entry »
Cyber Monday is Now Tops
For as long as I can remember, Black Friday was THE shopping day of the season. Since it kicked off the official holiday shopping term, it was the one day when you could save some serious cash on everything from socks to electronics. In recent years, though, Cyber Monday has quietly usurped the top position with over 95 million Americans doing their shopping on this day vs. the 79 million Americans who shopped in retail stores Black Friday in 2009.
Cyber Monday is the first Monday after Thanksgiving. It developed over the years because it was the first day that people went back to work after the Thanksgiving. Employees would use the company’s high speed internet to do their holiday shopping online. Retailers took notice of the spike in their web traffic and began offering Cyber Monday deals that rivaled their Black Friday offers.
In addition to being incredibly easy and convenient, you can score some good deals with the Cyber Monday specials offered by retailers. Here are some tips for getting the most out of this popular online shopping event.
Read the rest of this entry »