Loyalty programs are something that have always intrigued me. Sometimes it seems like the sheep follow a little too closely instead of actually looking at the price of what is being paid. For example, is it better to fly RT to a place you want to go for $199 on an airline you never really use, or pay $239 for the airline you always use just to get miles in your loyalty program? I know people who are so loyal and determined to get the miles that they will (gladly) pay the extra $40. Let’s say that trip is from DFW to ORD (Chicago). Having flown that route about 150 times, I am very aware that it is 802 miles each way for the purpose of calculating FF miles. Even if I am platinum, that is 3,208 miles. If I am paying $40 for those miles ($.0125 per mile) I am valuing them at even less than the airlines do (they accrue $.02 per mile on their books). To look at it another way, 3,208 miles is roughly 1/8th of a “free ticket”. $40 x 8 = $320. What could you do with $320? Buy another $199 ticket to Chicago and have a really good dinner at Shula’s…gives new meaning to the phrase “Dollars and SENSE”.
In 2008, as I have mentioned in prior posts on Cyber Monday, retail and online shopping are under an intense microscope for performance. I was interviewed by a local station (Fox4 News Dallas) along with an offline retailer to get a take on how things were proceeding. As you will see below, we were pleased with traffic and performance – and deals are to be had everywhere.
Now that the holiday season is officially here for 2008 (Yes, it is a late Thanksgiving by most years’ standards) the two biggest shopping days of the year happen in the next 96 hours. Those days are Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Being around retail the last 10 years or so, I know how big of a time this is for retailers big and small. This year has an even bigger feel to it with the economic conditions that are provoking some retail companies either into bankruptcy or contemplating it.
Much earlier than usual, I have seen Black Friday Ads popping up all over the place. Notably, I have also heard less claims of legal action against websites posting “leaked” ads this year. I think that definitely signifies that retailers are willing to accept all help in marketing at all costs. Sites like DealTaker.com that conglomerate ads into one spot are a great way for shoppers to plan for the big shopping day in the stores. Stores like JCPenney, Sears, Toys R Us, and others have ads that are posted with some really good deals.
Not being one to go from store to store on the busiest day of the year, I tend to wait for Cyber Monday and all the great deals that will be had that day as well. Instead of fighting everyone for parking, the last Wii, and a spot in line at the food court, I will sit at my desk and price comparison shop and find even better deals. Most of those items will then be shipped right to me or my intended recipient (often with Free Shipping).
Alas, a Happy Thanksgiving to all. Eat well, shop hard, and enjoy those around you.