It may only be five years old, but Cyber Monday is quickly becoming one of the biggest shopping days of the year – on and offline.
(More on TIME.com: Ultimate Cyber Monday Deals)
The term was coined for the Monday after Black Friday where online retailers and websites provided their biggest sales of the year. Last year, it was the second biggest shopping day of the year, pulling in $834 million dollars according to Com Score. This year, companies – from those who have online only presence to others who have online and physical stores – are trying to cash in on the action.
“We view it as a really good extension of Black Friday and an important part of the holiday season,” said Senior Vice President of Staples business delivery Steve Bussberg. “We view it as one big season.”
(More on TIME.com: How To Recycle Your Old Gadgets)
Retail websites are preparing for the anticipated extra traffic on Monday by beefing up customer service, offering free shipping and most importantly, making sure that items are in stock. Amazon.com’s VP of Global Communications Craig Berman said that the companies primary concern was making sure that the in demand items we’re available for customers who would want to buy them for the holidays, as well as trying to keep their prices as low as possible. One thing about online retailers like Amazon.com, Berman pointed out, is that while physical stores might have great deals on Black Friday, they’re often limited in the stock they carry. However, buying from an online site means no parking, no waiting in checkout lines and more of each item for you to buy. Shopping online allows you to use other functions, such as Staples.com inventory counter where you can see how many of that product is still available at your local store as well as in their online warehouse. “I think a lot of people go out and look for deals on Black Friday, but there’s a limited quantities on those deals,” he explained, “They don’t stand in line at 3AM in the cold waiting to get in. Most folks don’t get the item they were looking for.”
(More on TIME.com: The Best E-Reader May Be No E-Reader at All)
To stay in stock, Amazon.com and other like-minded companies have to predict what’s going to sell big this season. Across the board, companies are banking on the popularity of e-readers this holiday season. The Kindle remains Amazon’s best-selling and most wished for product. Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne echoes that statement, saying that e-readers are expected to sell well this season as well. There’s also the usual digital cameras (especially pocket-sized video cameras like the Flip) and portable GPS systems that are expected to stay high on the list. “They’re looking for a lot of technology,” Bussberg said.