Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 25.
The turkeys aren't even defrosted yet, and already the post-Thanksgiving sales stories are hitting the headlines. On Wednesday, Target (TGT) announced that it is following rival Wal-Mart's in scheduling Cyber Monday earlier this year.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, for decades has been the biggest shopping day of the year. Retailers compete to offer deeper discounts on practically everything. And even countries beyond the U.S., which don't celebrate November's Thanksgiving, have taken on Black Friday observance. It's a time when the retailers rake in the bulk of their profits.
Of course, the news has been littered with stories of bricks-and-mortar stores opening earlier every year to compete for Black Friday bucks. Referred to as "Black Friday creep," this phenomenon recently garnered Macy's some unfavorable headlines as the company announced this year that it would be open on Thanksgiving Day itself.
However, there's another component to this shopping holiday frenzy. In 2005, the National Retail Federation established a companion to bricks-and-mortar's Black Friday: Cyber Monday. This made-up holiday was created to encourage shoppers to purchase goods from e-commerce sites once they had returned to their offices after the holiday weekend and had access high-speed internet.