Online retailers looking for record breaking Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday will attract almost 100 million buyers online?

On line retailers are gearing up. Friday is the big day for the brick and mortar retailers. Picking up a head of steam is the event of the year now gaining broader media attention known as Small Business Saturday. Now there is one more chance for shoppers to turn out and score great deals on holiday gifts. Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving and is an on line bash. More shoppers than ever are expected to participate in this year’s Black Friday. The question is… how many? The best part for the consumer is all you need is a connection to the internet. No standing in line… just find your favorite online shopping site and click away.

What are Cyber Monday retail companies doing to prepare?  “Well, the planning parts have been done already.” Says HR Manager Jennifer, who works for an online retailer. “We will have more people ready on the phones. Our goal will be to try to cut down on the hold times. We want our customers to have a great on line experience and we are ready. The warehouse is full and the shipping and receiving departments are dialed. We are looking for this Cyber Monday to be a great day for us.” Jennifer also says that her company had a good return from last year’s Cyber Monday. “It is easy to get overwhelmed. We have been planning this for several months. We starting staffing and training about two weeks ago and our operations department has been improving since last year. We are a smaller company so we have to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak.”

Also interviewed for this article was Alex of an electronics distributor with a strong on line following. “These days, we run so many specials and sales from our on line presence that it always feels like Cyber Monday around here. We stock thousands of items from batteries to tablets and everything you can imagine. We are the go to site for thousands of techies and we always have special. Our customers know to check our prices on popular items. For Cyber Monday, we have specials on a pretty good selection. We are ready for the rush. One big difference for us is our experience. We do this every day so the surge on line is nothing new for us. We appreciate the support for our brand and Cyber Monday we give a little back. It is a big event for us regardless of how you look at it.”

While many retailers depend on the end of year events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, most see it as an opportunity to provide a great on line shopping experience and personalized attention to their on line customer base. Many retailers have been driving email address campaigns for months so that there is a strong customer database to work from. It is common to see retailers organize around the technology and transaction styles. Companies have healthy bricks and mortar sales, an established catalog business, and now a complimentary on line shopping experience. It is a powerful model and is a proven success. Connecting with the customer looks like it is here to stay!

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Jodi Arias Guilty of first-degree murder in death of Travis Alexander

Jodi Arias Guilty of first-degree murder in death of Travis Alexander.

McDonald’s won’t be in touch with Jodi Arias.

Jodi Arias, a 32-year-old small-town waitress and aspiring photographer,  was found guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday afternoon in the slaying of her on-again, off-again boyfriend Travis Alexander at his suburban Phoenix home in June 2008.

The jury got the case last Friday and deliberated all day Monday and Tuesday before returning its verdict. The trial began in early January.

Tears welled in Arias’ eyes as the jury read their verdict.

The media was notified at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time that a verdict had been reached.

Arias claimed she killed Alexander, a motivational speaker and salesman for a legal services company, in self-defense. But prosecutors insisted it was an act of first-degree murder that could bring the death penalty. The jury also had the option to convict Arias of second-degree murder or manslaughter.

Authorities say Arias planned the attack on Alexander after he wanted to end their relationship and he prepared for a trip to Mexico with another woman. Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the head, and had his throat slit. Arias’ palm print was found in blood at the scene, along with nude photos of her and the victim from the day of the killing.

Arias initially denied any involvement, and then later blamed the killing on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she changed her story, saying she killed Alexander in self-defense when he attacked her after a day of sex. She and her defense lawyers have sought to portray Alexander as an abusive womanizer and sexual deviant.

The trial became a tabloid and cable TV sensation with its graphic tales of sex and lies and has attracted spectators from around the country who line up as early as 2 a.m. for a chance to score a few open seats in the courtroom. Arias testified for 18 days about every aspect of her sex life with Alexander, many of the details X-rated in nature.

Arias wept and looked away from jurors last Thursday as prosecutor Juan Martinez concluded closing arguments by displaying a gruesome photo of Alexander’s back, covered in stab wounds, while describing her as a manipulative liar who meticulously planned the savage attack.

In closing arguments, Arias’ lawyer implored the jury to take an impartial view of his client.

Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi told the jury: “It’s not about whether or not you like Jodi Arias. Nine days out of 10, I don’t like Jodi Arias. … But that doesn’t matter.”

Nurmi said the case can be summed up with the words “fear, sex, lies and dirty little secrets.” Arias faces a potential death sentence or life in prison, with or without the chance of parole.

The sentencing phase of the trial will begin Thursday with the same panel deciding whether the killing was committed in an especially cruel, heinous and depraved manner.