Bot Monday

Shopping Bot

Cyber Monday is supposed to be an awesome online shopping day. It is. I’ve seen estimates as high as $9 billion for today. However, I’ve also seen estimates from NBC News and Radware that as much as 97 percent of online shopping traffic today will be bot traffic.

Shopping bots scrape the web for the very best prices on the most popular items and then an automated purchase is made. This is thought to be problematic for consumers because the limited quantity specials disappear before humans can make purchases, and — if the retailer is using the items as loss leaders — the user experience goes from delight to a negative feeling of being baited and switched.


The value of the “doorbuster” promotion is “awareness” and human traffic. Is there some validity to the idea that people hang out and explore other offers for merchandise that is not on sale or has a higher margin for the retailer after being incentivized to visit a site by a single low-priced item? Yes. The trick absolutely works in a physical retail store. Online, a good recommendation toolset offering accessories and ancillary merchandise can be a gold mine when used with a great loss leader. But not every online retailer uses best practices tools, so it is very hard to generalize. If humans only show up to purchase your loss leader, they are not customers anyway.

Welcome to Bot Monday, a day where machines will be selling to machines. Machines will be buying from machines. Humans need not get involved. I wonder how my shopping bot will look in that nice scarf and glove set it just bought for itself…


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Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

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