The Thanksgiving Day turkey had just begun to settle when the onslaught of ‘Black Friday Ads’ interrupted my holiday football viewing. I had no intention of standing in a long line of retail gladiators vying for door-buster, early bird, or just a few of these left deals. In fact, I had not even given thought to going out on ‘Black Friday’ at all.
I let the ladies do it and I reclined in my chair, feet up; suddenly I jerked forward and thought to myself: “These large retail stores are busy everyday. When they have sales they are even busier.” The wheels in my mind started to turn faster. The questions were now coming from everywhere.
- What is it about a sale that draws more people in?
- What is it about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, End of Year, Closeout, Clearance, Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Back to School that causes regular buyers to increase their purchases and non-regular buyers to purchase what they never purchased before?
Bargain, pure and simple.
Back in the day, OTC was known for bargain. In fact, the conversation between consumers would be about which store on what street had the best deals on whichever item. Ah, those heady days of the 80s and 90s are gone and replaced by stores that are mega in size, well-merchandised, beautifully lit, and customer concerned, but no bargain. No bargain.
Just once I would like to see a chain of stores—multiple locations—get the jump on holiday spending and a crowd standing at the Beauty Supply, the same way they stand at other stores like Bath & Body Works.
Think about it, what do they actually put on sale for Black Friday? I watch and wait for the deal. The black cashmere jacket I wanted was the same price on Black Friday as it was on the previous Friday except there was a 10% discount if I used my store credit card. Clearance items, seasonal sales and the like are all fair game for Black Friday. The hard-to-sell items become stocking stuffers; the new things that customers wanted to try but were afraid to buy are also fodder for the Black Friday sale.
There are several bargains for sure, and they bring customers in. The store benefits, the consumer benefits, and most of all a national experience has been built around this event—this day, and this weekend of bargains and sales. Meanwhile that black cashmere jacket that I am watching and waiting to go on sale remains just out of reasonable price range with no sign of coming down.
So here is what I am proposing: Instead of letting all the big box retailers and the specialty stores get all the holiday cheer, we should make it a point to strategize around just what kind of bundles we can offer for the season. We should track the fast movers, tie them to a slower moving item, and offer them up to introduce the consumer to something new.
We should ‘hype up’ holiday sales season, while offering the holiday music and sprinkling in fake snow. Let’s contribute to making someone less fortunate more fortunate with food, and whatever else we can give. Black Friday is the gateway to giving, giving back, and giving of one’s self and service. It is the portal through which we all pass for the happiest time of the year, no matter our culture or faith.
The holiday season is a time when people buy for others. Shouldn’t they at least buy a comb, brush, or product for someone else? They would if they were prompted to.
Next year in 2017 I would like to see someone make a move towards having customers pour into OTCs to buy a hair dryer for their sister, a brush for brother and earrings for mom. Maybe everyone is not interested in having the store inundated with loads of new shoppers, but I do feel that all can take advantage of Cyber Monday.
In the elections last month it is estimated that 134 million people voted. From Black Friday to Cyber Monday it is estimated that 137 million people shopped online. Now that’s something to think about!