Get ready for the stretched version of the Cyber Monday online sales wars.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is making all of its “Cyber Monday” online discounts available on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The discounts will be offered starting at 8 p.m Eastern time. A year ago, the nation’s largest retailer only offered a sneak peak of about 20 deals on the evening before what’s considered the biggest online sales day of the year. It’s also quadrupling the assortment of deals to 2,000.
Meanwhile, Target announced that for the first time it will be offering a 15 percent site-wide discount on Cyber Monday. It will also have an extra 75 heavily discounted items on that day that include 50 percent off kids’ cameras and 50 percent off select headphones.
Fernando Madeira, president and CEO of Walmart.com, told The Associated Press that it wants to make it easier for customers to get ahead of Cyber Monday and save on the top selling gifts. Among some of the deals: an LG 65-inch HDTV for $799, a $500 savings, and an Air Hogs video drone for $75, a $34 savings. “We are simplifying the experience,” Madeira said.
The name “Cyber Monday” was coined in 2005 by the National Retail Federation’s online arm, called Shop.org, to encourage people to shop online. The name was also a nod to online shopping being done at work where faster connections made it easier to browse.
Now, even with broadband access, Cyber Monday continues to be a day when retailers pull out big promotions. In fact, the Monday after Thanksgiving generated nearly $2.04 billion in online sales last year, up 17 percent from the previous year according to research firm comScore Inc. That represented the heaviest online spending day in history and the first to surpass $2 billion in sales, said the firm, which tracks online sales. For many retailers, it’s not the biggest online sales day, however.
The stepped up promotions come as both Wal-Mart and Target have seen their online sales rising at a slower pace. Wal-Mart said this month that online sales increased 10 percent in the fiscal third quarter, compared with a year ago. That was down from 16 percent in the previous quarter. Target said that online sales increased 20 percent, which was below its expectations of 30 percent for the period. It was a slowdown from 30 percent from the second quarter.
Wal-Mart’s Madeira said that it’s counting on an improved app that allows customers to push a button in the app that alerts Walmart workers that they have entered the store’s parking lot to pick up an online purchase.
While Wal-Mart is maintaining its $50 threshold for free shipping during the holiday season, it encourages shoppers to use its pickup service for less expensive orders. Target is once again offering free shipping for the holidays and is waiving its minimum order of $25.
In a Target blog, Jason Goldberger, president of Target.com, said the combination of the deals and the free shipping “is our way of rising above the noise of all the other sales to show deal-seekers that Target’s deals are amazing.”
BY ANNE D’INNOCENZIO, AP Retail Writer