WASHINGTON: More than 550 retailers are assisting an effort led by the National Retail Federation (NRF) to promote "Cyber Monday," held today.
The newly created promotional day, which takes place the Monday following the Thanksgiving weekend, is one on which retailers annually see a sharp spike in online shopping.
Playing off the term "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving that traditionally marks the start of the holiday shopping season, Cyber Monday was a term coined by the NRF in 2005 in an effort to generate interest in online shopping.
NRF senior director of strategic communications Ellen Davis said promotion of Cyber Monday had three main elements. First, the group released new research on November 19 showing among other things that 54.5% of office workers with online access are expected to shop online for holiday gifts from work this year, up from 50.7% in 2006.
Second, Web site www.cybermonday.com, created last year by NRF division Shop.org, is serving as a central source of information on hundreds of discounts available on Cyber Monday.
Finally, a second annual "Shop at Lunch" event, held today at the ESPN Zone restaurant in downtown Washington, is expected to attract some 300 area consumers through viral marketing efforts by local retailers touting free food, online access, and more than $8,000 in prizes to be raffled off at the event.
Davis said as many as 25 reporters attended last year's event, including the CBS Evening News, and were able to record video footage and interview online shoppers. This year, journalists were expected from USA Today, The Washington Post, and Associated Press, among other outlets.
"It's easy for reporters to go to traditional stores on Black Friday and talk to people and take pictures, so the purpose of the "Shop at Lunch" event is to give a face to online shopping," Davis said.