Who needs Thanksgiving Weekend when Cyber Monday can come as early as Halloween?
Wal-Mart (WMT) blew the lid off traditional holiday shopping on Friday by moving some Black Friday deals up a month. The world’s largest retailer is looking to lure in early birds through an “early cyber event” kicking off on Friday.
As part of the promotion, it is also offering free shipping for orders greater than $50 on nearly 99% of Walmart.com items and 50% of Marketplace items, an effort to reach more mobile and online shoppers.
Mobile accounted for 40% of Walmart.com's holiday traffic last year, a number it hopes to increase this season.
"We know that our customers start shopping for the holidays on Nov. 1 because historically our traffic spikes the day after Halloween," Walmart.com CEO Joel Anderson said in a statement.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based company, which has in recent months increased its commitment to U.S. manufacturing, plans to offer 300 early-bird specials, including door-buster deals on items usually saved for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Among the items on sale is the JVC 42-inch LED TV, which it is offering for $299, as well as the Apple (AAPL) iPad mini and iPod Touch 5th Generation starting at $299 and $289, respectively.
Wal-Mart isn’t the first retailer to make strategic holiday moves. In August, both Wal-Mart and Toys R Us unveiled holiday promotions that included increased layaway programs.
However, the Walmart.com cyber event seems to be the first real attempt by a retail heavyweight to start offering Black Friday deals as much as a month before the typical start to the holiday shopping season.