Of customers polled about their shopping plans for Black Friday, 35% responded that family tradition drives them to the store, 23% pointed to kicking off the holiday and enjoying holiday decorations and displays, and 18% said it’s the best time to browse and shop for the perfect gift for someone on their list.
The idea of combining Thanksgiving and Shopping predates the internet. It really started in the suburban mall expansion wave of the late 50s and early 60s and became a true staple of American retail tradition in the 80’s the “golden era” of the mall. Like the malls, which today are undergoing a massive re-evaluation of their tenant mix and strategies, Black Friday is also in flux. Increasingly, the holiday has bled into the surrounding days and is becoming full weekend of retail spanning from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. Typically, Friday still accounts for the majority of sales although Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday shopping has been gaining steam.
In 2017, it seems that the proliferation of deals has continued to spread with many retailers focusing on large Veteran’s day pre-Black Friday promotions, as well as, “preview” week-before promos to get shoppers reaching for their wallets. Are we heading towards a future “Black November” scenario where the entire month is categorized by retailers going head to head with mark-downs and deals?
That remains to be seen, though it’s certainly wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility especially in a world where Amazon has effectively created their own “Black Friday in July” irrespective of proximity to a major holiday.
Regardless of the future of Black Friday, it will no doubt remain a major shopping weekend for brick and mortar into the future, and consistent with overall trends of retail customers heading to the store for more than just the deals, they are focused on the experience.
No, I’m not talking about fighting a mass of people to get one of the ten ‘door-buster deal’ flat screen TVs in that store. Retailers who are really succeeding have realized focusing on their customer’s overall shopping experience drives more value and loyalty across the holiday season than any deals.
As the availability of deals becomes spread over multiple days (perhaps even the entire month) and online shopping continues to play a greater role in the cut throat competition for deals, it’s the experience that will keep those customers coming back to stores and connecting with the brand.
Photo Credit: BGR.com