Cyber Monday, the Internet’s biggest shopping day of the year is here and, for the first time, local and national retailers catering to Puerto Rico consumers are posting their deals and offers on www.cyberlunes.com, the local version of the www.cybermonday.org site that started the online retail movement seven years ago.
The local site aims to serve as a directory for sales on and off the island and has already signed up Furniture Warehouse Outlet, Gatsby, La Bodega de Méndez, Piomu, Café del Mesón, Shoegalz, Gustos Coffee, the DonQ Store and Carla’s Sweet, as well as stateside chain stores Sears, Best Buy, Macy’s and Target, site creator Ernesto González, president of GTA Internet Marketing told this media outlet.
“This is the first time that local and national stores that sell online to Puerto Rico on Cyber Monday are grouped in a single place. The site’s goal is to make it easier for consumers to identify where they can shop online and get good deals,” González said.
“This concept takes after the stateside Cyber Monday site, but we’re going to take ours a step further by continuing to recruit retailers to extend the service during the entire week,” he said. “Our research has shown that there aren’t that many people buying online from local shops and we want to provide this space for them to learn about the retailers that use the Internet to move sales.”
“If anybody has an online local store, we urge them to get in touch with us to join this website,” he said.
Stateside research firm comScore predicted last week that shoppers participating in today’s Cyber Monday sales are expected to spend about $1.5 billion, up from $1.25 billion last year.
Much like brick-and-mortar stores got an early start on Black Friday by opening at the stroke of midnight — many even on Thanksgiving — many online retailers followed suit with Cyber Monday sales, hoping to appeal to shoppers who opted to shun the madness of three days ago.
One of the trickiest parts of participating in Cyber Monday sales from Puerto Rico is the shipping issue. Many retailers either exclude the island from their delivery footprint altogether, eliminate the free shipping option available stateside — despite hiring the same carriers to deliver the purchases — or tack on additional surcharges for the service.
However, as of recently, retailers such as Best Buy and Home Depot have included Puerto Rico in their “store pick-up” service, allowing consumers to buy online and go to a local store to retrieve their purchases.
A bit of history
Cyber Monday is a term that was first used in November 2005 by Shop.org to describe the Monday after Black Friday. A year later, Shop.org launched the CyberMonday.com portal, a one-stop-shop for Cyber Monday deals, where shopping and discounts are a few stress-free clicks away.
The concept meant to encourage sales for the online e-commerce community, which was likely to have a captive audience in workers returning from a long Thanksgiving weekend with much shopping to get done before Christmas.
But the initiative spurred a downside, as stateside employers have been increasingly cracking down on their staff for using company equipment for non-work-related purposes, including Cyber Monday transactions.
But that may not be an issue so much anymore, as people are now relying less on their work computers to shop, shifting to smartphones and tablets to get the job done.
While e-commerce still accounts for less than 10 percent of retail consumer spending in the U.S. mainland, that figure could grow faster than expected as shoppers take advantage of lower prices, convenience and free shipping offered through online shopping.
ComScore’s numbers showed that this year’s online Black Friday retail sales exceeded $1 billion for the first time, jumping 22 percent in comparison to the $816 million reported for the same day in 2011.
ShopperTrak, which counts foot traffic in physical retail stores, estimated Black Friday sales of $11.2 billion, down 1.8 percent from the same day last year, Reuters reported.