Is Black Friday Retail Becoming Obsolete?

November 8, 2016

Fighting Marketing Fatigue

By Kaitlyn Ambrose, Content Coordinator

If you work in retail like we do, you’ve probably been thinking about the holidays since the summertime. By now, holiday retail ads are starting to creep onto your TV screens, flash in your Newsfeeds, and jingle through your car radios.

Whether you’re ready or not, Winter (and the holiday shopping season) is Coming.

For the last decade, big-name retailers have encouraged potential customers to start their holiday shopping earlier and earlier in the hope of attracting an even larger crowd on Black Friday than the previous year. But it appears that this trend has transpired into something more.

Has the earlier promotion of sales caused Black Friday to lose a bit of its shine?

According to a survey of 1,000 shoppers conducted by Market Track, almost half of consumers will finish their holiday shopping before the Thanksgiving turkey is in the oven.

Another 27% are projected to finish their shopping before October ends. Based on those numbers, it’s no surprise that more people are staying home with their families on Black Friday instead of standing in lines for hours, fighting over the last Tickle Me Elmo. (No joke, I saw that happen one year, and it was a little traumatizing).

In addition to the can’t-beat-sales being promoted earlier, more people are consulting their smartphones before ever stepping into a storefront. What does this mean for retailers?

According to Search Engine Journal, Google says that 64% of customers turn to their mobile phones to scout for products first, and then visit a store. This comes at no surprise, considering the major role mobile plays in many shopping experiences—from product search to purchase.

How can other retailers adapt to the changing holiday shopping season?

That’s where clever marketing comes into play. Yes, holiday shopping is rapidly changing, but Black Friday isn’t going anywhere for a few years.

As you gear up for the frenzied thrust of holiday shopping, here are 3 tips we can offer to help give your brand a spirited boost in-store and online, whether you’re in retail or retail real estate.

1. Use social media to get people in your stores.

Obviously. You’ve definitely heard that one before. But before you scroll past this, hear me out: Using social media to drive foot traffic is actually effective and doesn’t have to be a pain.

Post a picture of that awesome new product that just arrived in store, explain why it’s awesome, and include a call to action that encourages visiting the store. Maybe you’re running an in-store only, pre-Black Friday promotion that can only be redeemed if customers show said photo to an employee of yours.

Of course, you’ll want to keep your posting schedule diverse, but try sprinkling these types of posts in your social media calendar and see what happens.

2. Increase social media advertising efforts.

Creating and circulating several eye-catching social ads is a cost-effective way to vocalize your sales and deals. It’s important to keep the creative and copy fresh. No user likes to see the same ad served to them for two weeks straight.

Worried about getting lost in the white noise of advertising? A/B testing ad creative, custom audiences filters, and varied copy can go a long way. It’s most definitely worth your time.

3. Think outside the traditional, age-old box.

Just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to. Everyone and their mother know about REI’s decision to #OptOutside of Black Friday and it’s done incredible things for their brand.

They went against the current and now they have started a movement of sorts, which goes to show you that holiday traditions can change and the world won’t stop spinning.

What do you think about the changing holiday shopping season? Drop us a line and share your crazy Black Friday stories!


What We Watched This Week – November 4, 2016