Canadian specialty clothing chain Le Chateau says it was a coincidence that it launched its e-commerce website on “Cyber Monday.”
But other Canadian retailers say they deliberately used the U.S. marketing slogan to pitch some of their best online deals to customers on Monday.
The loyalty rewards program Air Miles held its “biggest ever” 10-times-the-points sale for orders placed online, while department store retailer Sears Canada was offering some one-day specials on electronics on its website.
Both called the specials Cyber Monday deals, leveraging a U.S. shopping phenomenon that like Black Friday is gradually making its way north of the border.
The term was coined five years ago to describe the Monday after American Thanksgiving, when U.S. consumers go back to work and shop for gifts from their computers.
With the Canadian dollar near parity with the U.S. greenback, consumer interest in cross-border shopping is rising, prompting some Canadian retailers to adopt U.S.-style pricing strategies and advertising.
“This is the first year we've called it Cyber Monday,” said Vince Power, a spokesperson for Sears Canada. “Just like last Friday was the first time we'd called it Black Friday. I think these are two terms that are getting into the Canadian consumers' psyche.”
Sears hedged its bets by also using the better known phrase “Boxing Day” on its Black Friday flyer to convey the depth of the deals on offer.
Boxing Day is the day after Christmas when Canadian retailers traditionally offer deeply discounted “door crasher” specials and extended store hours much like those seen south of the border over the Thanksgiving weekend.
|Staff at the Amazon Swansea fulfilment centre process orders as they prepare for what is expected to be their busiest Christmas on record on November 26, 2010 in Swansea, Wales.|
Le Chateau's senior vice-president of sales and marketing said the decision to launch its e-commerce site on the same day as Cyber Monday was a happy coincidence.
“We've been working on it for some time,” said Franco Rocchi. “We planned to launch for the holidays.
The website will help make more Canadians aware of Le Chateau's new sophisticated image while building its brand south of the border, the company said.
Le Chateau, which operates 230 stores across Canada and two in the U.S., said being online has become as important to retailing as being in the best mall.
“Can you imagine not being in the Toronto Eaton Centre?” Rocchi said.
“You have to be there.”
Online shopping remains a small percentage of total retail sales, though it's grown from 8 per cent of all retail sales in 2007 to 11 per cent now, said Gayle Duncan, vice-president of marketing for Maritz Research.
But an online presence can drive a lot of sales to your stores because the web is where a lot of consumers start their search, she said.
“Cyber Monday is still in infancy in Canada,” said Nicky Mezo, head of marketing for PayPal Canada.
Fifty-eight per cent of Canadians surveyed by the online payment network don't know what Cyber Monday is.
On the other hand, 15 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they planned to shop online on Cyber Monday, the poll found.
Cyber Monday sales tend to be skewed toward consumer electronics purchases, Mezo said.
Several multinational online-only retailers, such as newegg.ca, tigerdirect.ca and dell.ca, have some “very aggressive” deals on offer, Mezo said.
This year, some American retailers jumped the gun making their online offers available on Black Friday, the same day brick and mortar stores put out their best deals, or even earlier.
Overall, U.S. retail sales rose only slightly on Black Friday, according to consulting firm ShopperTrak.
The average shopper spent $365.34 over Black Friday weekend, a 6.4 per cent increase over last year, according to the National Retail Federation, the main U.S. retail trade group.
But online sales rose as much as 16 per cent as sales of luxury goods and jewellery pushed the average order to $191, according to a research report for investment firm UBS.
Source : (http://www.thestar.com/)