THE REAL NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

One of the more popular animated features to come around within the last twenty five years is the flick that holds a name similar to the above headline for this article, the Disney release The Nightmare Before Christmas. In that flick, it features the character Jack Skellington, the reigning pumpkin king, that attempts to fuse two unique holiday celebrations with one another, only to discover that the two don’t necessarily mix!

Since the time that feature was released around 1993, the notion of Halloween and the holiday known as “Christmas” (now referred to as “The Holidays”) have become somewhat strange bedfellows. Although the sprit of Halloween (pun indented?) is progressing in near full tilt, folks are starting to make plans to take advantage of living through the biggest moment of the entire year-Christmas! Not so much on decorating their homes or baking cookies and other goodies, but getting the best bargains at retail outlets as gifts for others, but mostly for themselves!

There have been plans for shopping in advance for this season since the days when the internet became a helpful and rather successful tool to sell and buy goods. Retailers found that the Friday after Thanksgiving (this year falling on November 27th) was the best time to offer bargains. This day was called “Black Friday” because retailer’s bookkeeping showed they would be in the “black” in reference to profits for the quarter. These outlets would open their stores around dawn and offer bargains for the more popular items as an incentive for those to come in to buy anything–bargains and non bargains alike! These kind of sales were created so folks can grab gift items. However, many people would wind up buying for themselves. After all, how many of you readers ever purchased a big screen TV device as a Christmas/Holiday gift? We through so!

Over time, retailers, trying to find a battle plan to make the most sales on that day, started getting tough on their strategy. Because the ‘net made shopping a whole lot easier by offering more bargains, many of these same folks just got online to shop. The day where the online retailers saw their traffic increase was the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend. Cyber Monday was its name, where folks returning back to work would go online (on company time no doubt) and seek more bargains that the previous weekend would ever allow.

But both shoppers and retailers started to make their own strategies in order to buy and sell at the best price and profit margin made available. Retailers, knowing that folks still prefer to see the goods in person before they plunk out any money, started to open their stores easier. Many outlets would be open on Thanksgiving evening to kick off Black Friday. Some stores would remain open all day Thanksgiving to beat those that plan to shop after Thanksgiving dinner. The online outlets planed to offer bargains Thanksgiving week as an intensive for those to do their entire shopping become November ran out of time. This getting to the goal first has been a challenge for all of those that are willing to take on the fight to get the most for less!

And this shopping early seems to be making its mark. According to a recent report filed by marketing software company SteelHouse, nearly half (48%) of shoppers stated that they complete the majority of their shopping on or before Cyber Monday! This counts as a 40% increase from two years before. A quarter of shoppers say they began their holiday shopping even before Halloween!

The intense study, which represents millions of online transactions from 500 domestic retailers through portable internet connected devices during the last year, finds that folks spend some 82% of their mobile time in-app versus 18% in mobile web. In-app campaigns, the reports says, convert at 5 to 10 times the mobile Web rate. This means that people are using any and all of their electronic devices to find the goods they are seeking for the best price available at the same time where one can grab a pumpkin for the local pumpkin patch that will later convert to a Christmas/Holiday tree lot! (Don’t laugh folks! This same writer did see last year, a fenced off dirt space selling cut pine trees as a “Holiday Tree” lot!)

The report also notes that three out of four shoppers will use their smart phone device while in the retailer to aid them with their shopping matters. Pinterest referrals spend twice the amount of time and effort than Facebook referrals. A quarter (26%) of cyber based sales came from mobile devices between Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday, rising up 20% from the same period during the previous year, 87% of marketers are investing in mobile based applications, 41% of mobile shoppers plan to use their same mobile devices to research products and compare prices while still in-store, 67% of consumers move between devices when they’re shopping online, and nearly all (98%) of people switch between devices in a single day! All these facts and figures that people grabbing the most goods for the least amount of money will be armed and possibly dangerous when it comes to shopping!

So what does this all mean? In short, it will become much easier for shoppers to get the best deals available, while retailers will have to offer those same bargains, as well as having that foot traffic come in and out of their stores, in more of an intense level. The good old days of placing a full page ad in the newspaper running on Thanksgiving Day with a laundry list of advertised bargains is long over!

Of course, people find shopping for bargains as a game, while others find it as a chore. In spite of all of the ammo one can grab to get their deals of the hour, there are a few folks that don’t seem to care with it comes to battle plans. They will just waltz into a store, find the best gift to give for somebody on their list, and get it right then and there! Of course, this shopping doesn’t have to occur during the so-called holiday shopping season. It can take place anytime of the year. However, it’s a lot harder to find a sausage and cheese kit in May than it is in December. It’s quite possible to find a gift box as such during the off season, but one has to look a bit harder for it. However, if one is shopping for Halloween, the Halloween pop up stores have been in business since the Labor Day weekend, even though folks will still get their costumes and other items on the day of! Unless if those that feel Halloween is the only holiday of the entire season that matters, they will shop year round! In this market, used clothing is in plentiful supply as seen at any local junk store, thrift shop, or garage and estate sale within in the neighborhood! ‘Nuff said!

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NEWS AND REVIEWS

      Due to scheduling, there won’t be any new reviews this week, but check back next issue for the latest in community theater and related points of interest right here in Accessibly Live Off-Line! See you then!

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