Connectivity the Key to Black Friday Sales
How are you celebrating Black Friday and its online cousin, Cyber Monday?
“Shop early, shop often.” That’s what retailers hope consumers do this holiday season, which officially kicks off this Friday, November 27, aka Black Friday. A survey by Accenture shows that 70% of people intend to finish their shopping by December 7, so retailers have no time to waste in letting shoppers know about the sales.
Extended holiday hours
Many stores are extending their hours for the holidays beginning Friday, if they haven’t done so already. For instance, local Target retailers began remaining open an extra hour the week prior to Thanksgiving.
Most Wal-mart stores will open 6 AM Thanksgiving Day and stay open overnight, although Black Friday deals won’t begin until 5 AM Friday morning. A spokesperson for Wal-mart told CNN.com that they’re staying open for the safety of customers.
Long Islanders remember last year when one Wal-mart worker was trampled to death – and several customers injured – when doors opened Friday morning at the Valley Stream location. In fact, the added hours may promote more shopping and higher profits, too – a true win/win for the retailer and for customers.
Best Buy has a smart strategy for getting customers in the door safely. Employees go outside when a line begins to form outside the electronics superstore, around 3:30 – 4 AM Sunday. They hand out doorbuster tickets for their most popular sale items – among them 30 laptops, and six different net-books. When the tickets are gone, customers know there will be no more of that item. Displays of popular sale items are marked with color-coordinated balloons to make them easy to find.
Will customers spend less money this year?
Economic forecasts are mixed for the 2009 holiday season. A recent study by Burst Media shows that 62.8% of consumers plan to spend the same or cut back their holiday spending this year.
Another survey, this one conducted by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation, found that U.S. consumers plan to spend an average of $682.74 on their holiday shopping, a 3.2 % drop from last year.
And sales are more important than ever before, with 55% of people planning to shop sales more often, and 41.7% using more coupons. It’s not surprising, then, that the Accenture survey shows that 52% of people polled plan to shop on Black Friday, versus 42% last year.
Technology makes shopping easier
The way people find those sales is changing. Web-savvy customers perused Black Friday deals as early as two weeks ago, with scanned-in copies of store flyers posted at sites like www.blackfriday.org. Other sites with Black Friday ad info include:
Walletpop even has a special Black Friday toolbar for download. It lets you keep track of the sales as you surf the Web. This can come in especially handy during Cyber Monday, if you’re chained to your desk and still need to get your shopping done.
Don’t forget your iPhone or Blackberry to make holiday shopping easier, less expensive and more productive, too. Download coupons with mobiQpon on your laptop, netbook, iPhone, Android or Blackberry or use Save Benjis, a cute 99-cent iPhone app that helps you comparison shop.
Don’t forget to use your smart phone to compare in-store sales with online prices before you make a purchase.
Of course, people are using Twitter for everything else, why not Black Friday shopping? A search for #BlackFriday (don’t forget the hashtag) right now yields deals from Kmart, Amazon, Cheap Tickets, Staples and even Etsy. It will be interesting to follow the Black Friday deals in real-time through Twitter on Friday.
Whether you choose to brave the crowds Friday or save your shopping for the comfort of your desk on Cyber Monday, (that’s my preference!) connectivity will be the key to getting the best deals this holiday season.