November 27, 2013
Are retailers messing up “Black Friday”?
For the past 20 years, it has been a tradition for families to plan out their fridays by hitting the malls, the day after thanksgiving. For us too lazy to get up at 5am, it’s been fun to watch on TV to see doors opening with screaming people trampling each other trying to get to those door crasher specials.
It’s a huge day of travel, this year threatened by snow storms, it’s a huge day for turkeys, football and cookies. But, most of all, Thanksgiving itself is a sacred time for families.
So this year, major retailers including Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Sears will be opening on Thanksgiving Day. This won’t mean a jump in revenues it just means revenues will be brought forward one day. Yes, retailers have this belief that it’s a constant dog-fight for sales, and if one my competitor gets a leg-up, that means a loss to me.
Retailers are facing such pressure during these economic times so I’m somewhat sympathetic. Margins are shrinking and many retailers basically make or break their year during Thanksgiving and New Years. So I can understand the temptation.
Before we get into the ethical part of opening, let’s look logically at the 8 ways a brand can make more profit: 1) increasing prices 2) getting consumers to trade up 3) lowering your cost of goods 4) lowering your marketing costs 5) stealing other users 6) getting users to use more 7) entering new categories and 8) getting new users. I realize it’s all about stealing other users. But if both competitors blink and open at 8pm on Thanksgiving, no one really wins over the consumer. The only thing I see her is a slight increase in the costs of increased wages and store opening costs. Net net, no one really wins.
So at the year end, no retailer will really be saying “we had a great year because we opened on Thanksgiving Day”.
But come on guys, while your press releases are saying you’re really just “catering to consumer demand”, I don’t buy it. I’d rather see all Americans sitting around the dinner table and watching football with family and friends.
If families are your main target market, you should be making a big deal out of the fact that you are closed so that all employees can spend time with their families. That’s a great way to establish love for your brand. My Hope is the Retailers Announcer Early that they will be closed on Thanksgiving 2014
To all our American Friends, I want to wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving
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