Virtual shopping forces Thanksgiving sales

Nov. 26, 2013

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Emory friends are invited to observe #GivingTuesday by making a donation to the university or to one of its schools, libraries, research institutes or other components on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

First there were harvest festivals, common among almost all world religions. Then came the particular North American tradition of our modern Thanksgiving holiday.

Then in the 1960s, U.S. retailers introduced "Black Friday" pre-dawn sales to induce couch potatoes to get out of the house and into stores over the long holiday weekend.

Online retailers extended the holiday shopping sales extravaganza with "Cyber Monday" to capitalize on folks' buying mood on their first day back at the office after Thanksgiving. Nonprofit groups got into the spirit by introducing #GivingTuesday for holiday donations.

Now some stores are testing the nation's tolerance of this ever-broadening focus on spending around the nation's traditional holiday of thanks by opening on Thanksgiving Day itself.  

"Part of this is growing demand on the part of customers, but a greater factor is likely the competition from online stores," Sandy Jap, a marketing professor with Emory's Goizueta Business School, tells The Washington Times.  

"The past few years we have seen a growing number of holiday sales move online, as customers increasingly demand to be able to shop on their terms. When major retailers choose to open earlier, it puts pressure on other bricks-and-mortar retailers to follow suit."  

Emory marketing professor Doug Bowman offers insights on retailer trends for this year's Black Friday sales.  

"Most retailers now are timing their deals, so you'll have a deal at 6 [a.m.], you'll have a deal at 8 [a.m.], you'll have a deal at 10 [a.m.], and depending on the product you're looking for, you'll have to plan ahead," Bowman tells NBC's Today, Weekend Edition.  

To make the most of the sales, he says, shoppers can use retailers' apps and sign up for their email lists.  

Discounted Emory classes on Cyber Monday  

Shoppers in the market for professional education classes can enroll at a 20 percent discount with Emory Continuing Education on Cyber Monday, Dec. 2.  

Give to Emory on #GivingTuesday  

Emory friends are invited to observe #GivingTuesday by making a donation to the university or to one of its schools, libraries, research institutes or other components on Tuesday, Dec. 3. www.emory.edu/give

-from staff reports