The Shameful Failure of Cyber Monday

A question for consumers: A (virtual) show of hands, please. How many of you received a thank you message — be it an email, a voice mail from a call center or a personalized piece of correspondence — from an online retailer whose site you patronized on Cyber Monday?

How many of the sites you visited had a video embedded on the homepage, from the Founder or CEO of that respective business, saying (in 30 seconds or less) something like, “Thank you for spending time with us. Whether you plan to shop with us, or whether you want to explore what we have to offer, we appreciate your interest. Have a happy — and healthy — holiday”?


Though I am unable to see what I suspect, which is a vast series of upraised arms and hands akin to the pistons of a mighty machine — of different lengths, colors and shapes, moving with spontaneous precision — I can nonetheless intuit the feeling that none of you (or a minority of a minority of a few of you) got nothing more than confirmation that your purchase went through, automatically added to your outstanding balance with MasterCard, Visa or American Express.

In this most glaring example of the nakedness of the emperors and empresses of e-commerce, and in yet another instance of what most business school professors will not emphasize and the majority of marketers will not acknowledge, we have the most lopsided surplus of material riches and spiritual poverty in recent memory; or, never have so many allegedly brilliant people — from the navigators of the river of algorithms to the Arkansan team of data scientists and directors of Wal-Mart — acted so arrogantly, on a day of such commercial significance, by being so embarrassingly ignorant or indifferent toward their fellow human beings.

Even worse, too many consumers have such low expectations about what retailers should give them.

Consider the context: In the lead-up to a $3 billion record in online sales, with all the attendant advertising and promotions to get people to click and consummate transactions for everything from steak knives and Cadillacs to sofas and comforters, there is not a single note — there is not a solitary memo — from one executive to another, in the very aftermath of America’s national day of Thanksgiving, to have this or that company make it a priority to thank consumers for this financial bonanza.

At least we can calculate the cost, in the billions of dollars, for businesses that persist in their practice of doing nothing.

You’re welcome

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