Black Friday Internet Marketing Company
Black Friday: Are Online Sales Making it Shades of Gray for Traditional Retailers?
The ritual had always been this: Eat the Thanksgiving turkey, rest comfortably in a tryptophan haze after dinner, and peruse the sale ads that stuffed the newspaper as fat as the bird you just ate. Maybe you made a list of where you would shop and for what items, on Friday.
Then came the gauntlet of earlier opens by major retailers…5 a.m., 4 a.m. – hell, make it midnight – separating the true professional bargain hunters from the merely eager. Certainly that would be as far as it would go. However, 2011 saw major retailers opening on the once-sacred Thanksgiving day, creating a backlash among store workers, and an earnest vow from some consumers to not shop any retailer that would indenture its workers and rudely interrupt the family gathering.
Nonetheless, massive lines formed around stores that opened in the late evening (now some are open regular hours during Thanksgiving Day), with the yearly story of certain stampedes injuring and even causing death to some shoppers. In fact, a website called BlackFridayDeathCount.com sprung up to tally the carnage since 2006.
Yet a look at last year’s overall totals showed a decrease of 11 percent in sales from 2013, falling from $57.4 to $50.9 billion in the four-day weekend tally. This despite what retailers felt was their strongest offering of deep discounts and doorbusters in an improving economy.
In contrast, online business boomed in 2014, even while the media focus was on the in-store purchasing frenzy for the vital first two days of the Thanksgiving weekend. Perhaps it was the aversion to bodily injury or the comfort of buying gifts in your boxer shorts, but online sales showed a respective 32 and 26 percent increase in 2014 over Thanksgiving Day ($1 billion) and Black Friday ($1.5 billion). If the online sales are climbing on the days where it used to be all about the mall, are shoppers just out looking, then coming home and buying?
Perhaps. More likely, the fact is that the majority of retailers still remain closed on Thanksgiving Day. However, it doesn’t mean that their products won’t be available online. And while there is moral outrage over going out to shop on Thanksgiving Day, sneaking a purchase online among the warmth of family and home isn’t quite as shameful.
In addition, let’s not forget the mobile revolution. As people stand in grave disappointment at the empty space where the $88, 52-inch TVs once stood, their next step is to grab their phone in search for the deal there. It’s a next resort (probably because that TV was for their own living room and they were hoping to have it up and running that day), but the sale ultimately goes to the online store.
The other scenario is in finding the hot toy at Kmart, but you’re not sure if Target also had it on sale. Rather than risk losing the last in the store’s inventory to the woman who’s already eyeing you up, you check your smartphone to check out Target’s price. It’s a win-win proposition for the consumer, and if it’s cheaper elsewhere, you’re smarter to click the “add to cart” button and hand that valuable doll to that woman’s outstretched arms.
The mobile market is also expanding, as there were 165.3 million smartphone users in the U.S. in 2014, a jump of 15 percent from the year before, with the number expected to climb by another 11.4 percent to 184.2 million this year. A more modest increase, but just another reason to skip the crowds, the parking hassles, and becoming a statistic on BlackFridayDeathCount.com.
For 2015, the talk has been about retailers like REI opting out of Black Friday altogether. The outdoor recreation equipment retailer told its customers, “This Black Friday the co-op is doing something different. We’re closing all 143 of our stores. Instead of reporting to work, we’re paying our employees to do what we love most—be outside. We want you to be the first to hear—not just what we’re doing, but why. We’re passionate about bringing you great gear, but we’re even more passionate about the experiences it unlocks for all of us.”
They waxed philosophic, aligning themselves with famed naturalist John Muir, who mused, “thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home.” REI will even have a black takeover screen on its website to seal its commitment (or prevent its customers from cheating, however you’d prefer to look at it). The statement also quickly added that there would still be plenty of deals to be had throughout the selling season. This is why you need a company that specialize’s in black Friday internet marketing.
It’s hard to say if this could spell a new trend for cyberbusiness and how consumers spend their time and money over the four-day weekend. While there have been no takers to date on REI’s “OptOutside” campaign, at least 40 other retailers, including box box stores like Home Depot Lowe’s and Sam’s Club, have made announcements that they will not open on Thanksgiving. Instead of grabbing the car keys, grab the keyboard?
In addition, hours after Halloween was over, the new race was to see which retailer would be releasing their Black Friday ads – online. Blurring the lines between promotion and editorial content, Black Friday sales ads are news. Not only does this create a draw for online traffic for the retailer, online marketing strategies like retargeting assist the exposure for online retailers to generate sales. Retail giant Costco blurs the lines even further by posting Black Friday sales, but on Friday, November 20.
The Rise of the Drones
Finally, Amazon raised the ante – literally. One-hour shipping for $7.99 and free shipping for two-hour delivery and beyond has been offered to Prime members, who pay $99 per year for the privilege. Once their futuristic Amazon Prime Air takes off, you can even receive a package in about 30 minutes, delivered by drone. Not to be outdone, and perhaps even beat Amazon at the game, Walmart is also looking into drone technology. With the logistics still yet to be worked out, it won’t be available this Black Friday season, but it does keep consumers looking for the best deals in giving and receiving – online.