Gen-Z Voice: What Does Black Friday's Online Migration Mean for Brick-and-Mortar?

Jan 2, 2018 10:28:00 AM

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Over a month after this year’s hectic Thanksgiving weekend, the holiday shopping season is winding down, with a week or two of final sales and returns to close out the year. Looking upon the holiday gifts that we purchased a few weeks ago begs the question of Black Friday’s significance in the face of online presences’ rising prominence. No doubt, the continued onslaught of sales and discount throughout the holiday season will affect the final holiday season scorecard for retail.

 

Although, traditionally, Black Friday marks the beginning of holiday shopping for many, the Wall Street Journal reported that this year, some shoppers chose online deals over in-store sales. During Thanksgiving weekend, online sites such as Forever 21, Banana Republic, and ASOS, among others, announced that they were turning Cyber Monday into a cyber weekend. These brands offered large discounts from Thanksgiving Thursday through midnight on Monday, prompting shoppers to trade Black Friday’s crowded parking lots and long lines for an easier, online experience.

 

This is not to say that the internet has wholly subdued Black Friday, but the idea of one-day sales seems to have bled throughout the holiday season, with no single day of deals dominating consumer attention, For brick-and-mortar stores targeting digitally active groups– including Gen-Zs, Millennials, and many younger parents– online shopping may have courted away their deal-seeking customers this November. However, as I mentioned in my previous article, many shoppers are looking for in-store experiences, and these aforementioned groups need more than just any Black Friday special to persuade them to brave lengthy cash-register queues.

 

For these young cohorts a Instagram-worthy store experience or a viral store display – like Google’s “Stranger Things” AR experience in their NYC pop-up, drove foot traffic and engagement with Gen-Zs and Millennials. Those retailers who will be likely to report to most impressive holiday performance this year are those who maintained shopper attention throughout the season, not just with deals, but with experiences that kept customers engaged.

 

Next year, there is tremendous opportunity to generate success by connecting with customers beyond margin-hungry online deals. Whether you plan to offer discounts to shoppers wearing ugly Christmas sweaters, provide special snacks and drinks on Super Bowl Sunday, or invite locally-popular authors or figures to an event, Radius8 can help your store take advantage of nearby trends and optimize customer experiences, engaging those customers to come into your stores, stay engaged, and spend more.

-Sara 

@sarachopz

 

Image Credit: Footwear News

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Sara Chopra

Written by Sara Chopra

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