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The Persistent Growth of the Virtual Marketplace

With COVID-19 spiking in the majority of the United States, shoppers are not as willing, or able, to go out to their favorite stores for the best deals this Black Friday. Instead, customers are pushed to take advantage of Cyber Monday sales, this year even more than usual. 

Online shopping has already been on the rise. With the increased demand for internet sales, companies will have to keep up with the immediacy of online shopping. Amazon, for example,  has the infrastructure in place for mass scale orders and will not have to be as concerned as smaller brands that may have to adapt to the shifting marketplace.

How these brands will adapt depends on a variety of factors. Social media platforms like Instagram have integrated features that enable vendors to sell goods directly from a post. It is theorized that this year, social media will be used as an additional platform for Black Friday shopping, as brands will be able to promote and sell specific items in an extremely accessible way, which will inevitably increase sales. We have already seen this feature installed from high-end companies like Saks on Fifth and Prada to leisurewear companies like Aerie, and it is known to increase sales. We predict we will see an increase in influencer marketing being used by all types of companies because of their power to encourage consumers to buy the products through promotion. Influencers are also important for the promotion of entire brands, not just singular items, especially when the brand or product seamlessly blends into their everyday lifestyle.

Brands like The Girlfriend Collective, an athletic wear clothing-line that makes all of their clothing out of recycled materials, have taken the online and Instagram world by storm. The company relies almost entirely on its online presence and store for sales. This past week, Girlfriend had a sitewide sale (including on a new color collection for the winter), which the motive behind could be two-fold. While Girlfriend is known by women to be an entirely ethical brand, their decision to try and clear out their current stock of clothing is admirable. In order to keep up with the orders from the impending Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales, they have reduced the number of items they have in stock to sell when the day comes. By taking this action, Girlfriend took care of their customers, since packages are already heavily delayed in the United States and the large influx of online sales from Thanksgiving weekend will slow down shipping even more. They also took care of their employees by giving them less product to worry about packaging and shipping at the end of the month. 

Overall, brands will have to make extra efforts this Black Friday and Holiday season to move their holiday shopping traffic online while also staying aware of the large package shipping delays in the United States. It will be important for them to utilize social media platforms like Instagram as an alternative way to sell their products. Instagram has become a crucial way for users to find and immediately purchase items, and will be imperative for advertising deals and what items each brand is trying to push.

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