Everyone knows what Black Friday is. It's the day after Thanksgiving, when retailers kick off big sales events to get consumers into their stores.
And these days, most people know about Cyber Monday too, the Monday after Black Friday when online retailers and merchants entice shoppers with more sales.
What most people don't know is that when this holiday shopping season sets records for online sales, it will be the beginning of the end for at least a dozen brick-and-mortar retailers.
In other words, this Black Friday was Black Death Friday for some of your favorite stores, the companies that own them, and their stocks.
The Rubicon's been crossed. This is the end of retailing as we used to know it.
Here's how I know which retailers have one foot in the grave - and how you can profit from their demise...
The Game Has Changed
Online retailers aren't waiting for Cyber Monday to push sales anymore. Cyber Monday is now just another "big draw" day, like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s (NYSE: BABA) "Singles' Day."
No online seller waited until Monday to launch sales when they knew every other retailer was trumpeting Black Friday sales.
Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), of course, launched Black Friday deals before Black Friday.
It sliced and diced prices in 30 categories of goodies, including toys, electronics, fashion, beauty, kitchen, and sporting goods. It was even better if you're a Prime member, because you got even earlier notice about deals.
And really, why go out shopping on Black Friday when Amazon's fulfillment and delivery options could have your merchandise delivered to you in the comfort of your home?
Shopping was even easier with Amazon's voice-activated Echo, and consumers who own one got an exclusive shopping window several hours earlier than the general public.
As far as missing out on items you might've forgotten you wanted, Amazon had that covered, too. Its mobile app could be set for "Watch a Deal" alerts to notify customers of a price drop, and it offered AR views (that's "augmented reality," for you mall shoppers) to see how items look in their space.
Not to be left behind, eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) started offering Black Friday deals on Tuesday, Nov. 14 - a full 10 days before mall zombies make it out on the official Black Friday.
Adding insult to injury, eBay's even flagging prices on items that beat or match prices at Macy's, Kohl's, or other rivals. Talk about a frontal assault.
eBay said price-matching would continue through Cyber Monday, with no blackouts during the Black Friday shopping days.
Online retailers are smarter than ever before. They know exactly how to target the dying brick-and-mortar dinosaurs, and their firepower is devastating.
This Black Friday Was Many Retailers' Last Gasp
About the Author
Shah Gilani boasts a financial pedigree unlike any other. He ran his first hedge fund in 1982 from his seat on the floor of the Chicago Board of Options Exchange. When options on the Standard & Poor's 100 began trading on March 11, 1983, Shah worked in "the pit" as a market maker.
The work he did laid the foundation for what would later become the VIX - to this day one of the most widely used indicators worldwide. After leaving Chicago to run the futures and options division of the British banking giant Lloyd's TSB, Shah moved up to Roosevelt & Cross Inc., an old-line New York boutique firm. There he originated and ran a packaged fixed-income trading desk, and established that company's "listed" and OTC trading desks.
Shah founded a second hedge fund in 1999, which he ran until 2003.
Shah's vast network of contacts includes the biggest players on Wall Street and in international finance. These contacts give him the real story - when others only get what the investment banks want them to see.
Today, as editor of Hyperdrive Portfolio, Shah presents his legion of subscribers with massive profit opportunities that result from paradigm shifts in the way we work, play, and live.
Shah is a frequent guest on CNBC, Forbes, and MarketWatch, and you can catch him every week on Fox Business's Varney & Co.