On the fourth Thursday of every November, many Americans celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a lot of food, watching football, and being grateful for what they have. Yet, one of the other traditions has Americans rushing into stores for deals. This tradition is known as Black Friday, and it is America’s biggest day for retail.
During Black Fridays, a plethora of Americans will camp out at their local shopping plaza to take part in, what they believe to be, the most incredible deals of the year. Of course they have good reason to believe this, retailers will send out their sales circulars weeks in advance.
For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00 a.m. In the late 2000s, some retailers tried to get a jump on the competition. Some stores opened at 5 or even 4:00 am. In 2012, some retail outlets opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day. While this can give an added holiday boost for a retailer, it comes with a price. Retailers are aware of the possible hazards to their customers and employees, yet focus more on the profit.
Consumers have even turned against the tradition and boycotted retail outlets for making people work on Thanksgiving. They believe that employees should be spending time with their families giving thanks, not watching people fight over a television that’s on sale.
Some retailers have fought against the image of greed, giving their employees Thanksgiving off. REI, a chain that specializes in outdoor gear, is encouraging customers to take a hike. “We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand,” CEO Jerry Stritzke explains, “So we’re actually paying our employees to go outside and spend time with their families.”
The tradition used to serve as an indication for how the rest of the holiday season would fare. Yet, with changes in technology, such as online purchasing, that’s no longer the case. Last year retailers had started their sales earlier in the month. As a result sales on Black Friday dropped by 11% on the holiday weekend. In the case of REI not only are they going to make most of their sales before the holiday weekend, but now they have a boost in publicity as well.
There are other ways in which businesses can stand out. REI has memberships that offer special savings. This means that they are regularly in touch with their customer base. Another way that a company can stay in touch with their customers is by sending digital coupons by text or email. Text messages are usually read within 90 seconds of receipt, and 70% of Americans like to receive mobile coupons from their favorite businesses. A coupon or deal, sent from a texting service is more likely to be redeemed and shared. Maybe your company could stand out from the rest with a Texting Tuesday sale.