Happy Holidays!

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Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year from all of us at 4th Strand!

 

We hope that everyone has a relaxing holiday season and has safe travels!

 

Check back on January 7, 2014 for our next post!  Also make sure to subscribe to this blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see what we are up to over the holiday season!.

Have You Finished Shopping?

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8 days? There really are only 8 days left to finish my Christmas shopping? Where did all the time go and how did I get in this situation AGAIN?

Hopefully, these thoughts are not currently running through your head, but if they are, you aren’t alone.  For many consumers, their holiday shopping is just beginning.  For others, it took place during Thanksgiving, or from their desk the week after.  The combination of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and now Cyber Monday has started a whole new frenzy of holiday shopping.

But when and how did all of this begin? What happened to old-fashioned mall shopping with Santa visits in December?  Why are these days called Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the first place?

Believe it or not, the term Black Friday has origins in the early 1960s.  Throughout the year, retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss (“in the red”).  Black Friday was the day that they began to turn a profit, putting them “in the black.”  With the growth of the economy, retail, and the internet, Black Friday has expanded, with many stores now beginning their “door buster” sales as early as 6:00 AM on Thursday (that’s right, I said Thursday for a Black Friday sale).  Before we know it, the whole month of November will be “Black Friday.”

Enter Cyber Monday.  At the same time, online retailers have started cashing in on the Black Friday shopping craze.  Starting in November 2005, Cyber Monday occurs on the Monday after Thanksgiving for thousands of online retailers.  Its origins are from consumers, who, filled with holiday shopping spirit, returned to their web connections on Monday and continued their shopping online. Similar to Black Friday, online retailers began to cash in on the increasing number of shoppers by offering discounts, flash sales, and other promotional gimmicks.  Believe it or not, American consumers spent over $1.7 billion on Cyber Monday in 2013, an increase of 18% from 2012.  As Cyber Monday creeps into Cyber Week, online shopping is likely to increase even more dramatically in the coming years.

However you are shopping this year, good luck getting that perfect gift!

 

Did you cash in on the Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals this year or did you procrastinate shopping again?  Let us know!

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Data is Power

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data is power

If you were asked “What is 2 + 2?,” what would be your answer? Most people would simply say “4.” But what if your favorite number is 3 or the number 5 has a significant meaning in your life?  Would that cause you to change your answer?  Hopefully not, and your answer is still 4.

You are faced with challenging problems everyday.  Some are simple math questions taught in elementary schools.  Others involve life-altering or business-impacting elements.  While it’s unlikely that emotions or personal connections will change simple math problems, emotions can, and usually do, influence more difficult decisions.  Wouldn’t it be nice if difficult situations could be solved with data, rather than emotions and other people’s opinions?