A couple of days ago, I participated in a Social Video Broadcast about cyber security survival tips for the holiday season. Some of my advice is familiar. Use stronger passwords, apply the “smell test” to too-good-to-be-true on-line offers, read the manual—especially the parts about account set up and security—when turning on a new device. Others are a little less well known. I keep a separate credit card account with a low spending limit for on-line purchases. Ask your Sys Admins if it is OK to connect a new “BYOD” device to an enterprise network when you return to work in January.
But the most important advice I offer is to slow down and think before doing anything that might subject you to cyber mayhem. Technology, and the Internet in particular, has programmed us to rush through life. But the best way to make it into to the Cyber Security Victims Hall of Regret is to lose your sense of situational awareness by clicking on anything that moves. This needn’t lead to paralyzing indecision. But taking a moment to ask: “Is this for real? Is this wise? Why does that look funny?” will spare you from a lot of harm in the holiday season.
Getting online — not just in line — to find the best deals.
This holiday shopping season, brick-and-mortar stores are out to match e-commerce sites with the latest and deepest discounts, and even encourage in-store shoppers to buy online. About 85% of online retailers will offer special promotions on Monday when people return to work. And now there’s an entire web site to check out all the deals called cybermonday.com.
For the first time in fact, more of us will go online than will go to stores to do get our gifts — 52% of shoppers are expected to use the Web, tablets or smartphones to buy presents. A mobile device may be more important to bring Christmas shopping than your wallet.
Sales made on a mobile device will be 21% of all online holiday sales this year, according to the Adobe Digital Index 2012 Online Shopping Forecast. Two-thirds of those sales will be made on tablets, and the other third on smartphones. Phones more than tablets are used to research prices and find store locations and sales, and tablets to make a purchase.
And as retailers encourage shoppers to use multiple channels, more mobile sales are being made at the actual store. Walk into Best Buy with a smartphone, scan a QR code, and it takes you to the Best Buy web site. If you see it cheaper online, they’ll match that price in store. Or …buy something online and pick it up at a store near you — that same day. This saves you shipping costs and gets you that holiday rush of being with the crowds. Read More »
Thanksgiving holiday came and went with Black Friday breaking records from last year.
The highlights of the numbers that have been quoted in the press today are:
Sales increased 6.6% over the same day last year, representing $11.4 billion in retail purchases and biggest amount ever spent during the day.
Retail foot-traffic increased by 5.1% over 2010 Source: Shoppertrak
Looking beyond the headline numbers, here are some other interesting data points:
Black Friday has been stretched with pre-promotions and longer shopping hours. Retail sales were up over 3.5% the week of November 12th and 18th
Data from ShopperTrak indicated that consumers are visiting fewer stores per trip (being more efficient due to time crunch) with average of 3.1 stores down from 3.19 last year. Shoppers are also doing more research on purchases before the trip.
Another report from ComScore shows that Black Friday extended online before Cyber Monday.
Bfads.net, number one most visited web site on Black Friday promotions
$12.7 billion has been spent so far online to date this holiday season with $816 million in Online sales on Black Friday
Thanksgiving Day online sales increased 18% to $479 million (perhaps after dinner shopping instead of watching Thanskgiving football?)
Top five online retail properties (excluding auction sites) are Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Apple with Amazon having 50% more visitors than any other retailer
What does this mean for retailers? Here are some thoughts:
My daughter is 12 and thinks Black Friday is actually a holiday that follows Thanksgiving. The media has effectively gotten into her brain and she doesn’t even know why she wants to go shopping, but she knows she must. I keep telling her she doesn’t need a $50 VCR but she just doesn’t get it. I suppose I will take her and a friend to the mall and leave them there. There’s no way I am entering the abyss.
Then I will go home and do some real shopping.
My sister-in-law and I team up every year to work out who’s getting what for whom to make sure we get things people will like and to eliminate redundancies. Since I happen to be a big WebEx champion, we do it online.
I know that makes me sound a little geeky, and maybe I am, but it’s so fun to surf the internet together and look at the same things at the same time. She had ideas, I have ideas. Sometimes we are sharing and often we are both finding things and then passing the ball back and forth to see each other’s discoveries.
While we shop, she can stop and talk to her toddler, we can both grab snacks and, maybe most importantly, we aren’t losing our minds in the crush of the crowd. It works well for us and I can imagine Read More »