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Online Retailers Gear Up for Cyber Monday

By Caroline Jumpertz | November 27, 2011 8:05am

MANHATTAN — Shoppers, start your search engines.

Online retailers are already stuffing the inboxes of Manhattanites with previews and teasers for Cyber Monday discounts, but come Monday morning, the Internet will be buzzing with Tweets, alerts, QR codes, coupons and promo codes that promise to titillate bargain hunters looking for deals from the comfort of their computers.

The annual day for discounts on products sold online — based on a term coined by the National Retail Federation in 2005 — is the next next big opportunity for savings in the holiday shopping season.

Black Friday featured crowds and chaos at Macy's, Toys 'R' Us, Target and Best Buy, as well as over-enthusiastic shoppers busting through the doors of a Hollister clothing store at midnight in SoHo — although the store was not scheduled to open until 10 a.m. 

Then, Small Business Saturday provided a boost to mom and pop shops around the borough, encouraging people to do their holiday shopping at locally-owned businesses with discounts and deals.

With Cyber Monday, big retailers will be competing for online bargain hunters' dollars with discounts on big-ticket items such as television sets, laptops, Kindle e-readers and iPhones, as well as stocking stuffers like toys, games and DVD movies. Beyond consumer items, Cyber Monday even extends to travel deals.

Amazon is offering steep discounts on HDTVs and laptops, DVDs and media and is even waitlisting shoppers on certain deals.

The web retailer is featuring "The Harry Potter Complete 8 Film Collection" (a DVD box set) for $69.99, a discount of 50 percent. 

Ebay has the same 8-DVD collection for $47.99.

Gilt Group, the discount luxury brand e-tailer, is already flagging some Cyber Monday deals on their Facebook page.

Target is offering previews of their Cyber Monday deals, including $60 off kitchenware sets, and 50 percent off selected toys.

And Yoyo.com, a toy website that is part of a company that owns Diapers.com, Soap.com, Beautybar.com and Wag.com, is offering 30 percent off user-voted top brands for Cyber Monday.

On Cyber Monday, customers shopping on Macys.com can search for online holiday specials, including buy one, get one free on women's sweaters and $179.99 for a KitchenAid classic stand mixer. 

The term "Cyber Monday" has been gaining traction since the mid-2000s when retailers noticed an uptick in online sales on the Monday following the Thanksgiving.  With the rise of social media, smart phones and the increasing use of coupons among mainstream shoppers, Cyber Monday is becoming the crowd-averse shoppers answer to the crush and competition of Black Friday crowds.

According to the National Retail Federation's Shop.org’s eHoliday survey, nearly 70 percent of retailers expected their holiday season online sales to improve by at least 15 percent over the same time frame in 2010. Eight out of 10 online retailers have special offers planned for Cyber Monday, according to Shop.org.

"Consumers today are far from one-track minded when it comes to finding holiday gifts," said Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director, BIGresearch, the company which ran Shop.org's survey.

"These days, most people want to shop around all season long, using their smart phones to scan items in stores and compare prices, retailers' websites to find store locations to scope out gift ideas, and tablets or laptops to shop from the convenience of their home."