There have been many speculations in recent years that Black Friday is becoming irrelevant due to more online promotions throughout the year, a longer time period of extended “doorbuster” or flash savings, and the current state of the economy.

 

Nielsen conducted a survey of 1,200 consumers in which 61% of the participants said they plan to shop on Black Friday in 2017, which is up from 54% in 2016. 49% of respondents even plan to start their holiday shopping on Thanksgiving Day which has evolved into a controversial discussion over the years. Cyber Monday has also become increasingly popular with Black Friday extended sales spanning the entire holiday weekend. Another survey conducted by Ipsos concluded that a third of consumers see Black Friday as “an opportunity to find promotions that aren’t available at any other time of the year.” The special promotions on electronics and toys are especially appealing to shoppers. They are going to be more price conscious as well as budget conscious this year with shopping, according to a study by Accenture. They will also do their research before shopping, including checking Amazon before shopping anywhere else.

black-friday-1

 

Other studies have noted a decreased interest in Black Friday. A study by Accenture highlighted that just over 50% of consumers are not as likely to participate in online or in-store shopping on Black Friday this year compared to years previous. This is primarily because consumers want to avoid the crowds and are already searching for the best deals online year-round. With discounted online shopping days like Amazon Prime Day, people begin searching for holiday gift items earlier and earlier in the year.

 

black-friday-2
Source: Accenture

 

Stores being open for business on Thanksgiving Day have been criticized for keeping people away from their families and for making a profit off of a family-oriented holiday. Because of this, many consumers have pledged to avoid shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday altogether. Several major retailers have decided to close completely on Thanksgiving Day, including Costco, Crate and Barrel, Dillard’s, Cabela’s, Burtlington, Sam’s Club, TJMaxx, Stein Mart, Ikea, Marshalls, HomeGoods, DSW, and more. The complete list of retailers closed on Thanksgiving can be found here.

 

Asa former retail marketer myself, I do not agree with the notion that Black Friday is dead. I think that the approach to it simply needs to evolve. Retailers like Sears have been struggling in recent years, but recently reinstated their Wish Book both in print and digital versions for the first time since 2011. This dose of nostalgia may be too little, too late for the struggling company, but the idea is that there are things that retailers can do to stand out from all of the clutter this holiday season.

 

Here are some tips on how to have a successful Black Friday for your business:

  1. Start marketing early
    • Most retailers share some of their Black Friday offerings at least a month in advance. This creates the excitement in advance as people begin to shop online. Some have even begun Black Friday pricing the weekend before Thanksgiving in an attempt to plan our their shopping.
  2. Offer free shipping
    • Retailers that don’t offer free shipping immediately fall behind the rest of the marketplace. Offering free in-store pickup does not mean the same thing to consumers and they will gravitate towards brands that offer free shipping as more shopping shifts to the online world.
  3. Be innovative with your products, pricing and marketing strategy
    • Stand out from the rest of the crowd by thinking outside the box and truly offering an incentive for consumers to choose your products and brands over similar competitors’. Offering additional perks for loyalty or rewards club members also adds to the purchase likelihood of consumers.
  4. Sell the brand lifestyle appeal, not just the product
    • Consumers want to be part of an ideal. Make your target audience excited about a lifestyle they can achieve by using your product.

 

Are you planning to shop on Black Friday this year? What retailers have piqued your interest so far?