Walmart is changing the structure and calendar of its Black Friday sale this year by pushing Cyber Monday sales back to Friday, allowing the major retailer to combine both sales and launching what they have called “Cyber Week”
Although Cyber Monday deals, which have become more popular over the last decade, have traditionally started online the Monday after Thanksgiving, Walmart announced that its cyber sales will be available 12:01 a.m. Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and continues through the next Friday.
Last year, the company launched its Cyber Monday sale the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
In addition to the pushed back online shopping date, the store also plans to begin the Black Friday in-store sales at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. However, the store is open all day.
Walmart has also promised that the store’s selection for Black Friday will be three times larger than in previous years, from 8 million to 23 million products. This is part of a concerted effort, according to Business Insider, on Walmart’s part to compete with the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon. Amazon carries more than 350 million products on its store site.
“By tripling our online product assortment, we’re able to offer a lot more new brands and choices to customers all season long,” said Steve Breen, the senior vice president of merchandising.
The company has revamped and refocused a number of departments and behind-the-scenes organization and is looking to utilize such changes for the coming holiday shopping season. It is pushing for online order, in-store pick up options for customers, as well as encouraging shopping from the mobile app.
Unlike other organizations, Walmart says they will not waive the $50 minimum for free shipping but added that more than 90 percent of holiday season orders meet that requirement.
The company plans on rolling out another set of discounts for Cyber Monday in addition to the sales available on Black Friday in-store and online.
Some of the Cyber Week sales include a 60-inch Samsung HD Smart LED TV for $579, with an $80 Walmart gift card; a Promark P70 PR Drone for $99; A Fujifilm Instax 7s instant camera, plus a 10 pack of film for $49; a Black and Decker robotic vacuum for $196; a 55-inch trampoline with a lightpad for $59; and a Polaroid Cube+ Action Camera with WiFi for $110, among other sales.
“Our goal is to have large quantities of the highly sought-after items our customers are looking for,” said Walmart store manager Dale McLeMore.
“Our goal is to have a lot of those items in stock, not just one or two of them.”
All in all, there will be roughly 2,500 sales a day throughout Cyber Week at Walmart.
Walmart will not be the only major retailer kicking off deals early. JCPenney, Macy’s, Belk, Target, Toys R Us, and Kohls have also announced that doors will open for Black Friday events throughout Thursday afternoon. In addition, like Walmart, Kohls is adding much of its Black Friday sales to its online catalogue on Friday.
The early start times that have become popular in recent years have also drawn criticism from labor groups that feel that Black Friday sales pushing into Thanksgiving places undue burdens on employees who are asked to come into work, often to face overwhelming crowds.
Nevertheless, the holiday shopping season is expected to grow, not shrink this year according to the National Retail Federation. Further, Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest shopping day of the year, according to Adobe Digital Insights.
Many businesses have taken stands against opening on Thanksgiving. REI, the outdoor retail company, has announced for the second year in a row that it will be closed for Thursday and Friday to allow their workers paid time off and encouraged customers to spend time outdoors instead of shopping.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]