After hours offers the newest experiment retailers are using to capture customer sales. Most brick-and-mortar retail stores open during daylight hours but close in the evening; Internet retailers, available around the clock, appeal to consumers who want to shop at odd hours.

Many consumers’ lives have become too busy to shop online or browse the Web during the day, because they have family, work, and other obligations. During the evening, people’s lives slow down, giving them a chance to catch up on things they want to do. For others, the evenings seem perfect for online shopping because they lack anything else to do or have trouble sleeping.

Online retailers that recognize these trends offer online night-owl discounts, like 10–20% off between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m. For consumers, nighttime shopping removes curbs to indulgence. At night, your defenses are down, you feel like you deserve something, everything looks better, and you just seem to need everything!

So if things get hotter at night, retailers can expect to make a killing when they normally would have been closed. No perfect strategy exists yet, but encouraging shoppers to take time during the evenings, instead of their busy days, could be a great start to this new trend.

Discussion Questions:

1. Have you shopped online in the late night hours before?

2. Do you agree with the rationale that shopping at night is a different ballgame, because things just look better?

Sandra M. Jones, “Night’s Right for Online Shopping,” Chicago Tribune, August 5, 2007.