Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
With the 2017 holiday season here, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is helping consumers and donors shop smart and give wisely with a 2017 BBB Holiday Guide that offers information for a happy and safe holiday shopping season. The guide is on the BBB website at www.bbb.org/council/holiday-helper/.
Total holiday retail sales reached $655.8 billion in 2016 and are estimated to reach between $678.8 to $682.0 billion in 2017 – a rise of 3.6 percent to 4.0 percent – according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Roughly 164 million people – 69 percent of Americans – plan to shop during Thanksgiving weekend.
The 2017 BBB Holiday Guide is broken down into sections with trends and tips for each day during the long Thanksgiving weekend – Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday – and includes 12 Tips to a Fun and Safe Holiday Season that also come in the form of an infographic.
Black Friday (Friday, November 24, 2017)
Black Friday – the Friday following Thanksgiving – is the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. In the past, shoppers would make their way to brick-and-mortar locations offline. While this practice still remains, there is a growing shift in the way shoppers research and buy as well as how stores advertise.
In 2016, Black Friday set a record $3.05 billion in single-day online sales and was the first day to generate more than a billion dollars in online sales from mobile devices. Smartphones accounted for 45 percent of page visits and 24 percent of sales on Black Friday while 99 million people went to stores on Black Friday.
Small Business Saturday (Saturday, November 25, 2017)
Launched by American Express, Small Business Saturday first began on November 27, 2010, with a goal to encourage shoppers to support the 23 million small local businesses in the country. The BBB supports Small Business Saturday and urges consumers to support small businesses in their community.
An estimated 112 million consumers participated in Small Business Saturday in 2016, marking a 13 percent increase from 2015, and small business represents 99.7 of all U.S. employers. Interested parties can check the Small Business Saturday website for a list of small businesses in their area that are participating.
Cyber Monday (Monday, November 27, 2017)
Shoppers participate in Cyber Monday because of the 24-hour convenience that online shopping offers and the sales and delivery specials offered by online retailers. In 2016, Cyber Monday achieved a new record with $3.45 billion spent online, the largest online sales day ever recorded in the United States.
To make online shopping safe, the BBB offers tips that include installing software to limit access to websites, not giving out personal information in soliciting emails or social media, catching email phishing, looking out for scams, and making sure websites have “https://” in their web address to ensure security.
Giving Tuesday (Tuesday, November 28, 2017)
2017 marks the seventh year of Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving powered by social media and collaboration. Following Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is regarded as the start of the charitable season. In 2016, more than $168 million was raised from donations.
The BBB offers tips on how parents may talk to children about philanthropy that include showing them an action of charity, cultivating the habit of giving, discovering causes they care about, nurturing their passion, and offering time or skills. To learn more about Giving Tuesday, visit www.givingtuesday.org.
12 Tips to a Fun and Safe Holiday Season
The BBB also offers the following 12 Tips to a Fun and Safe Holiday Season for the millions of shoppers who are expected to spend an average of $967.13 during the holidays in 2017 to help them avoid problems while shopping (Click here to view the BBB 12 Tips to a Fun and Safe Holiday Season infographic):
- Gift Receipts: Always ask for a gift receipt. This way the recipient can return or exchange a gift if it’s not just right.
- Warranty Information: Inquire about the store’s return policy before purchasing. Also, be sure to pass along any information about returns, exchanges, repairs, and warranties to the person who will use the item.
- Research: Read product reviews, check BBB.org for Business Profiles, look at the sales flyers and ads, compare prices, look for early promotions and “flash sales.” For tips on searching online, check out BBB Digital IQ.
- Mobile Security: With so many shoppers using their mobile devices to research and make purchases, it’s important to have a secure device. Be sure you’re using the recently updated version of apps and operating system on the phone. Also, actively manage your location services, Bluetooth, microphone and camera – make sure apps use them appropriately.
- Public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi is vulnerable to thieves and fraudsters looking to steal your info. When in stores or restaurants, avoid using banking or other apps that access sensitive personal information.
- Email Phishing: With all the promotional emails received during the holidays, scammers will be out in full force. It’s best not to click on links from senders you don’t recognize. You can also hover your mouse over links without clicking to see if the address is really taking you to where it says it is. Also, check the reply email address. The address should be on a company domain. Watch for look-alike domains.
- Interest-Based Advertising: As you browse the web or use your favorite store’s app, you might notice ads personalized to you, sometimes based on your previous web searches. This is called Interest-Based Advertising, which is often signaled by Ad Choices in the corners of ads. If you want to opt out of receiving this type of advertising, download the AppChoices app or visit youradchoices.com/.
- Back up Your Data: Have an online backup option in case your device is attacked by hackers. You do not want to lose all your family’s information and memories.
- Look Out for Scams: If you suspect a scam, check out BBB Scam Tips to learn more (bbb.org/scamtips) or report scams to BBB Scam Tracker (bbb.org/scamtracker).
- Charity Disclosure: Check out give.org to find BBB Accredited Charities that have fully disclosed information to BBB Wise Giving Alliance. Although participation is voluntary, you may want to be cautious of charities that don’t disclose requested information to BBB.
- What’s In a Name: Be on the lookout for name similarities. Dubious charities often pick a name that sounds like a more famous charity. Before you give, be sure you have the exact name of the charity you want to support. Learn more about charitable giving at give.org.
- Give a Guide: Request a free Holiday issue of the BBB Wise Giving Guide to be sent to a friend or family member this giving season! The guide features evaluation results for thousands of charities. Simply email Guide@give.org with “Free Guide” in the subject line, and a name and address of where you’d like the guide to be sent.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) sets standards for ethical business behavior and monitors compliance of nearly 400,000 BBB Accredited Businesses. The BBB helps consumers identify trustworthy businesses through more than 4 million BBB Business Reviews. To learn more about the BBB, visit www.bbb.org.
ESR Wishes Everyone A Happy Thanksgiving Holiday
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) wishes everyone a happy Thanksgiving holiday. ESR offices will be closed on Thursday, November 23, 2017, and Friday, November 24, 2017, for Thanksgiving. ESR offices will repoen on Monday, November, 27, 2017. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.
NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.
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