The holiday shopping season is well and truly upon us. With another Thanksgiving celebration under our belts, Black Friday in the U.S. proved to be one of the biggest shopping days of the year. But even Black Friday may be eclipsed by Cyber Monday this year as consumers are expected to spend record amounts on electronics, games, clothes and a whole range of other goods.
Cyber Monday is a bumper time for e-tailers
Despite the traditional rush to snag door-buster deals at brick-and-mortar stores over the Thanksgiving weekend, online retail sales are particularly expected to surge. A new blog from Adobe Analytics sheds some light on just how much of their hard-earned cash Americans are predicted to hand over this year. Powered by the company’s Adobe Sensei artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, the company believes that shoppers will spend up to an incredible $143 billion between November 1st and December 31st. Over the Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday weekend alone, Adobe says that U.S. consumers will fork over $29 billion. Wow.
Even the brick-and-mortar retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart are getting in on the online act in a big way, targeting the coach potato shoppers among us (you know who you are) by optimizing their websites for a mobile experience so that we can browse and purchase goods using our smartphones. This online shopping trend is also helping to drive growth in a relatively new category of shopping called BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store) which Adobe expects will grow by a staggering 39 percent over 2018 figures.
Patience is a virtue
With many retailers offering loss-leader deals online as well as in-store, there’s enormous pressure on IT teams to make sure that the online shopping experience is as smooth and pain-free as possible. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as well as they should. Several retailers have already experienced a hiccup or two along the way, such as Costco, whose website crashed on Thanksgiving Day, leading to lost sales that could total $11 million or more. It’s also reported that other big names, including Home Depot, experienced slow website loading times, Nordstrom Rack customers faced website crashes, and H&M’s website was completely down for a short period.
Danger, Will Robinson
As in past years, though, all that money changing hands electronically makes this shopping season an irresistible target for cybercriminals. Some hackers attack retailers’ websites directly to steal credit card information and other valuable data. But there are also many other scams that consumers need to look out for, designed to attract users to bogus or malicious websites or apps that trick people into thinking they’re looking at a legitimate retailer’s website.
This article by CNET is a great reminder of the dangers out there for online shoppers, including some very practical advice about what to look for and how to avoid these pitfalls at any time of the year. We should all be taking these precautions all the time, but especially when we’re at risk of a few impulse buys.
So, whether you’re doing some Christmas shopping for family and friends or just keeping an eye on a big purchase for yourself, don’t be fooled by cybercriminals. Happy bargain hunting, and stay safe out there!