Cyber Monday & Black Friday | Monday Morning Coffee

Today, Granger Whitelaw and guest host Rayssa Barroso talk about Cyber Monday, Black Friday, “Thanksgiving Day” , Small Business Saturday, Alibaba , 11/11 and Airline Tuesday. What is all this about, it seems there is no end to the Biggest Shopping Weekend in the USA or others around the World. Grab your coffee, we hope you enjoy!

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Below is a transcript of the episode, edited for readability. Listen to the full episode at link below.

Granger: Good morning. This is Granger Whitelaw here with Monday morning coffee. It is Cyber Monday here in Asia and I guess the U.S. will be opening up shortly, in about 12 hours for Cyber Monday. I am joined today with a special guest again joining us, Rayssa Barroso. Good morning Rayssa. 

Rayssa: Good morning. 

Granger: How are you feeling today? How was your weekend?

Rayssa: I’m okay. It was good. It was relaxing.

Granger: Sunny, it was really beautiful. 

Rayssa: It was really nice.

Granger:  So, you like shopping, you know, you’re a shopper I would say.   

Rayssa: A certified shopper. 

Granger: Certified shopper, well obviously a makeup artist and a fashionista of sorts. So Cyber Monday and Black Friday are big days for people who like to go shopping. Yeah.

Rayssa: Yes. This whole Thanksgiving weekend is the biggest shopping event I think of the year.

Granger: For the U.S. for sure, right. Because Alibaba had their like 11/11-day November 11th this year and double 11. They call it.

Rayssa: Singles day. 

Granger: Singles day. And that is the biggest shopping day of year for them. I think they did $38.  4 billion in sales. 

Rayssa:  It’s a whole lot. 

Granger: Yeah. So Black Friday is a craze. I mean I remember growing up as a kid and you know, it really wasn’t that big, but as I became an adult and they started having these  big box stores like Best Buy, Target and Walmart opened up earlier and they would give more discounts and more discounts and all of a sudden people are crashing through doors. Sleeping in tents for two days. You get a special TV or the special Nintendo or Sega game machine console. I mean it’s just a craze in the United States. 

Rayssa: That’s pretty wild. 

Granger:  And it really started in the U.S. right. It’s coming to Asia, but it’s not like it is the U.S.

Rayssa: Yeah, they are trying to bring it out. And I think more countries internationally are starting to get into the Black Friday scheme of things.

Granger: Well they are. Certainly, went by Black Friday in anticipation of this episode, I went to the Vincom Mall and I walked around and looked at the traffic and   it was pretty big. Downtown people they shut down a couple of streets. 

Rayssa: Because it was so packed. 

Granger: Because there’s so much traffic. Right. In Thao Dien district two, it wasn’t that busy but still a lot of shopping. And I know that our good friends over at shoes in Geox, I was talking to them about their traffic, which was great. And I was saying, hey guys, what do you think about this Black Friday thing is it here to stay?   Is it growing? And they certain think it’s going to be growing and it’s building every year.

Rayssa: Yeah, it’s every year. It’s growing massively.

Granger: So Thanksgiving Day, in 2018, there was about three and a half billion in the U.S. and 2019 about 4 billion in the U.S. and that’s certainly an increase this year on Black Friday retailers did 7.4 billion in digital revenue, that’s a 48% growth over last year. And 73% of that came from mobile devices, which is telling, right. Because we talk a lot about technology on the show and how much people are using technology and certainly mobile is where it’s at.

Rayssa: They’ve definitely been using more mobile devices and all these brands, retailers and companies in the last couple of years especially really invested on making the process of online shopping through your phone or your tablet much easier because they know most of the sales are going to come every year from mobile.

Granger: On your iPad, on your phone on your windows device. I don’t want to exclude iOS or Android people out there. They’re very temperamental. You know, I don’t use the Apple, or I don’t use Android. But it’s interesting to me that when I looked at some of the Ali Baba stats from 11/11 and their 24-hour shopping, from 2018 and 2019 it went from 30 billion to 38 billion. Big, big increase. But what was really interesting to me is that not unlike the U.S. they’re pushing mobile here and they are pushing free shipping. Free shipping it’s just the de facto  now right.

Rayssa: Yeah, it’s all over the internet and Instagram all the time. People say, Oh, you know, you’ve spent $300 on your purchase, but then you see the $7 shipping charge and now you’re like, no, forget it. I’m not going to get anything. But then if you suspend $340 and then you get free shipping, you’re like, okay, I’ll get it. It’s really funny. The shipping is a big deal.

Granger: But that’s a good point, right. So, it’s like two for one, three for one. You know, I buy five get $2 off. One of my friends, Mikey was like, yeah, and one guy said, buy 10 and we’ll give you the same price as a buying five. We’ll of course you have to buy 10, right. So why do they do that?  It’s all about getting you to do the transaction. Can you do the sale? But you know, the free shipping thing is huge. And what was really fascinating to me is that they were pushing live streaming on 11/11. Alibaba, Alibaba worked with about 200,000 retailers this year and they were pushing live streaming of the products, right. Like so if you’re at home, what’s the TV show at home when you watch, you buy?

Rayssa: The home shopping network.

Granger:  Home shopping network and the other one.  Well here now you have online mobile focus and now live streaming of products to get people to convert. Right. You put the excitement and you show them the products, you have them all emotionally and then you convert the sale. Smart. I haven’t seen live streaming in the U.S., but you know, again, here’s a place where Asia, I think in a way is leading over the United States.

Rayssa: Well I think people here are too, on Facebook and if you live stream the retailers on Facebook, that must do really well.

Granger: That’s a good point. There are more choices in the U.S., right. Cause you go on Amazon, you have Facebook, you look everywhere in the U.S. online. But in Vietnam certainly like 95% of everything happens with Facebook.  Yeah. So that’s more focused now Alibaba is China. So, they have a couple of more choices of JD and a couple of other companies who are huge. So why are we talking about this on The Lotus Talks? Well, I’ll tell you why. Because this is about sales and manufacturing and logistics or delivery. I think 10 billion products, packages or something, they’re going to be delivered from Alibaba and in the U.S. a lot of those products that are being sold on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are manufactured right here in Vietnam. So, my question is two things. One, did it have an impact this whole Chinese tariff issue on the sales from China on the U.S. shoppers? Because the average discount was 28% but I kept hearing, Oh Hey, you know, if you’re going to tariff 25%-30% Americans are going to pay for that.

Granger: Right. But it doesn’t seem like that to me. It seems like to me the prices are pretty steady, and the discounts are still there for the consumers in the United States. And those products are largely made in China or Southeast Asia. So, I haven’t seen that impact yet. And I don’t know if other people have seen that. But it’s one interesting thing and two, if you’re a retailer or someone who sells products online, eCommerce shop, what can you do   to incentivize your customers or to motivate your customers to buy? Is live streaming a great option? Certainly couponing, they do that now, and free shipping. So, you know, thinking of ways to get people to buy your products, to make it a unique differentiate yourself is always something that we want to look at here.

Rayssa: I think social media is huge for, to answer that last question or a tip for that last question because something that has been trending and growing also is the use of Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest even. A lot of shoppers go onto those websites for inspiration or they just buy right off of the app. Instagram’s been growing tremendously in the shopping.

Granger: So, you’re a millennial. I    mean you guys live on Instagram, right. Is that where you get your inspiration?

Rayssa: Yes, for sure. I love Instagram for fashion inspiration for any product really. Not so much tech products, but cosmetics, fashion, accessories, those kinds of things. I definitely go to Instagram.

Granger: Well now here speaking of products, right and Instagram. If you look at the Alibaba numbers, the majority or highest sales items are clothes, necessities and beauty products and makeup, right. That’s what they bought. What are the people in the U.S. buying? 

Rayssa: The people in the U.S. are buying a little differently from on Thanksgiving weekend. They’re buying more tech products. The best day of the entire year to buy a TV or a computer is on Black Friday. So, their focus is on tech products. iPhones were really popular. AirPods too.

Rayssa: Oh the new AirPods were on sale? 

Rayssa: Well, not the new ones. The new ones, I don’t, I’m not sure if those were on sale. 

Granger: They were $16 off.

Rayssa: Okay. So that’s a little something. But the last generation were on sale for $125.

Granger: Yeah. So, they just counted the last generation. And a slight kind on the new one. The squishy ones and give you the noise canceling.  Right. There, you know, TVs is interesting. I learned something when I was in Black   Friday or a couple of years ago actually. They will manufacture TVs just for Black Friday and just for Christmas. They’re a different TV. It may not have all the components in it. It’s so it’s like they can actually discount them, right. Because they’re not actually the highest, highest quality, but they look exactly the same and pretty much do anything that they would want. But it’s a sneaky little thing manufacturers do. 

Rayssa: I’m sure they do that. Try to get the costs down.

Granger: So, tech in the U.S. is the big thing. And by the way, Tuesday is airline day, right. So, this coming Tuesday after Cyber Monday, tomorrow. If you want to buy tickets and you want to get the best deals of the year, it’s the Tuesday after Cyber Monday to buy air on flights.

Rayssa: So, this whole five-day span, there’s Thanksgiving Day, which became huge also in the last recent years. Because it used to be that stores were closed on Thanksgiving. And then I want to say like 10, 15 years ago, they started to open up later and now it’s opened up basically all of the Thanksgiving. I think it’s a bummer cause I used to work in retail, and I thought that was awful for people who work. You want to be with your family on Thanksgiving. But now we have to work.

Granger: Be home to watch the Dallas Cowboys, play football.  

Rayssa: So, there’s Thanksgiving Day, then Black Friday, then Small Business Saturday, and then.

Granger: Yay Small Business Saturday.

Rayssa: Yeah, they did really well too on Saturday. Then there’s Sunday and then there’s Cyber Monday and now you’re telling me airline Tuesday.

Granger: Well, anyway, everybody out there, we hope you get your deals right. There’s lots of deals for you. And go get them.  Cyber Monday today and tomorrow morning actually in the U.S. and watch those Tuesday deals, and certainly think about how you can incorporate some of this into your own businesses, right. To   get more sales to attract your customers. And maybe Friday we’ll talk about that. Have a great week everybody. It’s Granger Whitelaw, talk to you soon.

Rayssa: Bye. Bye.

The Lotus Talks is produced by The Vietnam Group and Hosted by Granger Whitelaw.
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