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Black Friday goes online to stay out of the red

Much like the month of March, Black Friday came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. Yes, lines stretched for miles in the wee hours of the morning, but once storefronts were locked and totals were tallied, retailers were likely nonplussed by the modest sales and traffic increases.

 

Where did all the shoppers go? Online.

 

Black Friday online sales were up 16 percent, and come Cyber Monday, sales broke $1 billion. This dramatic shift away from brick-and-mortar shopping is not so surprising, considering access to the Internet is near universal among all demographics. What does cause me to raise an eyebrow and shake my head are all the missed opportunities for companies to integrate online holiday shopping promotions across new media channels.

 

A non-scientific Facebook poll found that only a minority of members were using Facebook to search for and share holiday shopping incentives. To really take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday hysteria, retailers would have been smart to provide consumers with Facebook- and Twitter-exclusive discounts designed to increase their followers and sales, yet it seems few companies were able to capitalize. Our own 2010 Cone Consumer New Media Study showed 77 percent of new media users look for companies to offer incentives, such as coupons and discounts, before deciding whether to engage with a company via social media. As companies start to recognize that they should focus online as much as in-store for holiday shopping, they need realize the potential of untapped social media resources to increase sales both during the holidays and throughout the year.

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