Cyber Monday was expected to break records and become the busiest shopping day in U.S. history.
Internet shoppers were expected to spend $6.6 billion with retail giants such as Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target, according to Adobe Analytics. By comparison shoppers spent $5 billion on Black Friday.
In addition to deals and offers like free shiipping on televisions, gaming systems, the iPad Air, and more, shoppers were courted hourly via e-mail from aggressive retailers, such as JC Penney, TJ Maxx, K-Mart, and others pitching sales on everything from candles to appliances.
Local retailers, entrepreneurs, and restaurateurs followed suit, taking advantage of the Cyber Monday phenomenon by selling non-traditional gifts and services that don’t necessarily ship in a box.
Trifecta Ecosystems, located in Glastonbury and at 290 Pratt St. in Meriden, used Cyber Monday to sell its community supported agriculture package. For $145, customers were able to purchase eight weeks worth of fresh, locally grown salad greens and produce for pickup at either location.
“Our community supported agriculture package began two weeks ago,” said Kieran Foran, chief marketing officer for Trifecta Ecosystems. “We created a deal for today.”
The normal cost for a full 10 weeks is $200, and $160 for the remaining eight weeks. Customers could also purchase an eight-week package as a gift for someone else at the $145 rate.
Trifecta Ecosystems opened its aquaponic agriculture program on the fourth floor of the Meriden Enterprise Center last spring. After making some modifications to its 10,000 square-foot space, it is now engaged in vertical farming of greens and herbs. A partnership with a year-round grower in New Britain adds peppers, onions, squash, tomatoes — it changes weekly— to the package.
Sky Zone in Wallingford advertsied a holiday gift card sale with 25 percent off gift cards through Cyber Monday and 20 percent off gift cards Tuesday through Christmas Eve. Edible Arrangements in Southington offered a coupon code for 25 percent off.
Wallingford Frame & Art on North Plains Industrial Road offered online and in-store customers $20 off purchases over $100. Co-owner Lisa Gaw said that after 26 years in business, online advertising, social media, and e-mail generates better response than direct mail.
“An online presence is a must,” Gaw said.
Even Richard Chevrolet in Cheshire offered a Cyber Monday sale of 30 percent off on select cars, and deals on Silverados and Equinoxs.
Other local merchants used Groupon to get more traffic on Cyber Monday.
Powder Ridge in Middlefield offered unlimited access lift tickets for $29 on Mondays through Thursdays, good through March 9, 2018, $39 for use any day of the week, and night passes for $22
The Studio-Pure Yoga in Cheshire sold five drop-in classes for $27, and one month of unlimited classes for $46.
Local restaurants also took advantage of the numbers of shoppers scouring deals Monday with dining discounts. Dad’s Restaurant in Wallingford offered a Groupon for 40 percent off, Ola’s Restaurant offered up to 39 percent off, and Las Mariachi’s, also in Wallingford, had its own specials.
If the 2017 prediction holds true, $6.6 billion in consumer spending represents 16.5-percent year over year growth over 2016’s Cyber Monday.
Cyber Monday was launched and named in 2005 by Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation. It was designed to highlight the emerging potential of online shopping, which were challenged at the time by dial-up modems.
Cyber Monday was boosted by the advent of broadband, retail mobile apps, price comparison, and coupon services. The NRF expects 122 million people to shop digital deals on Monday, and the group even tracks the hours people are shopping — early morning is number one, followed by late morning and late afternoon.
“On Cyber Monday, retailers deliver online discounts unlike any other day of the year, driving consumers to shop online no matter where they are or what device they’re shopping from,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Millions of consumers shopped over Thanksgiving weekend and reserved a portion of their budgets exclusively for Cyber Monday, knowing that there will be digital deals that are too good to pass up.”