UNT merchandising professor available to discuss Cyber Monday and online shopping
November 25, 2009

As Cyber Monday approaches, the savviest online retailers will provide services to two groups of shoppers -- those who will go to the web sites to only get promotion information or print out coupons before going to the brick-and-mortar stores for holiday shopping, and those who will do all of their shopping online, according to Dr. Kiseol Yang, assistant professor of merchandising at the University of North Texas.

 

Falling this year on Nov. 30, Cyber Monday is traditionally the busiest shopping day for online retailers. Shop.org, part of the National Retail Federation, first used the term during the 2005 holiday season after research showed that 77 percent of online retailers reported a significant increase in sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2004.

 

 

 

But Yang says that not all those who go online on Nov. 30 will actually place orders. She notes that shoppers who have limited budgets this holiday season because of the recession will use the Internet to visit discount sites such as www.8coupons.com, in which users can sign up for different retailers' promotions. They will also go to Black Friday FM (www.blackfridayfm.com) to find major chains' up-to-the-minute promotions for Black Friday, and search for the best discounts on specific products, she says.

 

In addition, the shoppers who purchase all of their gifts online are doing more than just going to a specific site and placing an order, she says.

 

"They are relying more on product reviews or customer reviews on the retailers' web site, rather than what marketers or product descriptions are saying, before making a purchase. To get more reviews, or to find out more about the reputation of a product, they are using social networking sites, such as Facebook, and asking for peoples' opinions," she says. "They may also share their online shopping experiences, or their experiences in the brick-and-mortar store."

 

Yang says a growing number of retailers, including J.C. Penney Co., have their own Facebook pages to advertise products. These pages also provide users with gift wish lists, special discounts on products and other features. 

 

Meanwhile, those who are frequent users of Twitter can go to Cheapest Tweets, a social shopping network that provides information on bargains, based on Twitter members' conversations.    Yang says that as customers continue to be budget-wary during the recession, more and more of them will become multichannel shoppers, purchasing gifts in the stores, on the Internet and through catalogs and choosing a shopping method based on the best prices.

 

"You no longer always pay more to shop online. Retailers often have the same promotions online that they have in the actual stores, and many will offer free shipping if you purchase a certain amount," she says.

 

She expects that, in the future, shoppers will have another channel to obtain information about holiday gifts -- their own cell phones via mobile shopping. Retailers such as the cosmetic company Sephora launched a mobile phone site with product reviews for those who visit stores that carry Sephora products. Shoppers only have to enter the product code into their iPhones to get reviews on their phones' screens, Yang says.

 

Those with iPhones can also download applications on Mobiqpons to receive coupon information delivered straight to their phones, she says.

While mobile shopping has been more popular in Europe and Asia than the United States, Yang says the rapidly growing number of mobile Internet subscribers, plus the fact that most people carry their phones with them on shopping trips, will result in more retailers developing applications to allow a phone "to be used as an on-the-go shopping assistant."

 

Yang may reached at her office at 940-369-8210 or by e-mail at Kiseol.Yang@unt.edu

 

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108 Contact: Nancy Kolsti (940) 565-3509 Email: nkolsti@unt.edu

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