As I write this, I’m waiting for the election results, and it’s put me in a mood to vent. So, today we have another “that makes me stabby” post. Today’s topic: the early arrival of Black Friday. You know, the day after Thanksgiving when everyone is supposed to go shopping? Some retailers have decided to turn that day into a season, and it started on Halloween. Do you feel stabby yet?
How Can Black Friday Start Early?
I think it all started when a marketing firm decided to invent “Cyber Monday” a few years ago. That opened the door for people to declare all sorts of holiday shopping “days.” Christmas Creep was already bad enough, especially when stores started setting out displays in July. Think I’m kidding? Hallmark puts out some of their ornaments in July. Cyber Monday just made it worse.
This year, due to the declining economy and very slow sales, retailers have decided that “Black Friday” is now more than a day. It’s a whole season. Stores have already started offering major markdowns in an attempt to get people to spend money in their stores.
Will the Tactic Work?
I have my doubts about whether or not stretching Black Friday into a season will work, in the sense that I’m not sure it will help them turn a profit. If they’re offering major deals now, how much lower can they go on the real Black Friday? That’s the day when consumers have been trained to hunt down mega-deals. But I also doubt how effective Black Friday really is. I know several people who go only for the supersale items (that are often discounted to nearly cost), then leave to go to another store’s Black Friday sale. If everyone does that, how can the store possibly make a profit?
So, the dedicated deal-hunters will look at the current deals and decide to see if the price will go lower later. People who are looking for a particular item may indeed be lured into the store, or they might use that sale price as a base to go looking for it cheaper online, but those few people who do buy won’t be enough to significantly boost sales.
Will It Turn Shoppers Off?
It definitely turns me off, but I’ve only shopped on Black Friday once. My mom and I went out, but we avoided the big mall where most of the deals were happening. Instead we went to other stores offering smaller sales. We had most of those stores to ourselves, so it was rather nice. I’d never go near a Best Buy on Black Friday.
Furthermore, the Christmas Creep turns me off. I don’t like walking into Target in late October and hearing Christmas carols. Seriously, retailers, it was 85 degrees in L.A. that day. It was not the right time to be pushing Christmas on me!
I suspect that trying to turn Black Friday into a season will backfire. I think customers will be turned off by it, especially in a year when everyone is trying to save money. I also think that consumers are already trained to look for amazing deals at the holidays, so they will just use this as a cue that prices can go even lower later. And finally, I really don’t see how retailers can stay in business when they have to continuously drop prices to get people into the stores.
What do you think about Christmas creep and Black Friday creep? Does it bother you or do you think it’s a great way to score deals?