Black Friday is fast approaching (looming?) for retailers and their customers. The holiday hours for Black Friday seem to be getting earlier and earlier each year – now creeping into Thanksgiving Day and well into the remainder of the weekend afterwards. Are you one of the brave in-store shoppers on Thanksgiving and Black Friday? Personally, I’m not willing to enroll in martial arts just to prepare myself for the strength of those crowds…
Nearly half of holiday shopping is done online - $105 billion this holiday season alone. - National Retail Federation
Nearly half of holiday shopping is done online - $105 billion this holiday season alone, states the National Retail Federation. Major retailers are catching on. What are you doing to capture these sales online as well as in-store?
According to Mashable’s article, Walmart plans to offer the same Black Friday deals online as in-store for the first time. Well, 96% of their Black Friday deals at least… (It will be interesting to see how many people will be desperate to uncover the remaining 4% in person.) With this news, I’m now MORE likely to participate in some Black Friday action with this online extension of offers.
Best Buy is continuing to extend their hours this year into Thanksgiving Day, as are retailers like Macy’s and Sears. Other companies like REI are closing their doors for Thanksgiving and Black Friday altogether, encouraging their staff to spend time with their families. While REI has agreed to pay their staff for the day, I would be curious to see how high their online sales will be and how much money they save in commissions for the holiday weekend.
By offering the same deals online, you’ll also open up the opportunity to the growing number of your customers who are just not willing to leave the couch.
It’s hard to say for certain what the best approach to Black Friday is. In true omnichannel fashion, I would say it’s important to bridge the gap by keeping your doors open during regular hours, while offering the same prices online. You will avoid those long, extended holiday hours thus saving on staffing costs (especially at a holiday rate). Yet you still extend an open, holiday door for people to come in and perhaps leave with more than they were looking for. By offering the same deals online, you’ll also open up the opportunity to the growing number of your customers who are just not willing to leave the couch but still love your product!
Studies show that by extending hours into Thanksgiving you are unlikely to increase sales – you just spread them out over the holiday weekend. Why not increase sales while spreading them over your omnichannel presence? At the very least, you will hopefully avoid a Black Friday stampede that later goes viral.
As for myself, I will be shopping from the comforts of my home this holiday season. Please keep me posted on what Wal-Mart’s 4% of in-store deals I missed were!