Eventually, retailers will be so aggressive that holiday shopping will start the 4th of July. In the meantime, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) will start Cyber Week sales on Black Friday, the traditional first shopping day of the season. Cyber Week generally starts after the Thanksgiving weekend.
The world’s largest retailer announced:
After nearly tripling its online product assortment this year from 8 million to more than 23 million items, Wal-Mart today announced it will offer its largest Cyber Week assortment to date and kick off the event the day after Thanksgiving. Thousands of Wal-Mart’s Cyber Week online specials, featuring surprising new brands and unbeatable prices, will be available starting Friday, Nov. 25.
Every day throughout the holiday season, Wal-Mart is giving customers more opportunities to save on the best gifts. Customers that want to shop early can do so starting with Black Friday deals on Walmart.com at 12:01 a.m. EST Thanksgiving morning, continuing when stores open at 6 p.m. local time Thanksgiving Day, and then throughout Cyber Week beginning Friday at 12:01 a.m. EST.
The early deals cover a wide array from jumbo TVs to toys to clothing.
As for another benefit:
Last year, approximately 90 percent of orders placed between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday shipped for free, and this year Wal-Mart expects that to be even higher.
Free shipping has become so universal that no retailer can succeed without it. And, it has become more competitive as retailers improve from traditional two-day delivery to shorter periods to gain customers.
Large big box retailers and department stores have to decide if they want to change their online tactics to match Wal-Mart’s. The risk they run otherwise is that Wal-Mart will take a large portion of early online shoppers. Of course, there is also Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), which seems to have Black Friday type sales all year long.