by: Isha Edwards
November 24, 2011
If you are like many, the thought of standing in long queues for something other than Disney World and Six Flags rides, a rock star or the latest Apple gadget, going shopping in the middle of the night or at the smack of dawn, rummaging through rumpled clothing or being sandwiched between walls of people in a mall with kids afoot is not a welcomed experience. Although for some, Black Friday is an exhilarating adventure equivalent to finding hidden treasures or a pot of gold, if acquiring coveted items at a discount is the end goal, the adventure may not pay off.
For the past five years, retailers have worked almost effortlessly to convince the masses that the best sales of the year occur on Black Friday. If that were true and retailers were not overwhelmed and intimated by large crowds, Cyber Monday would not exist and pre and post Black Friday sales would not be offered as early as the week prior and up to three days after Black Friday (pause and think about that).
Carrots on a stick
Comparatively, Black Friday is really just a carrot on a stick or a teaser. If retailers can convince shoppers to come in for a coveted item, they can also coax shoppers to pick up other items along the way that are only partially marked down if at all. The concept works on every level at any store at any time. Rightly so, retailers use this sales strategy to their advantage.
In order to maximize profits, retailers do not leave a carrot on a stick for long. Normally, supply intentionally falls short of demand. This means that a retailer may only have 50 or less high demand items in stock to begin with even though they know or can estimate that more than 50 people will want the same item. In order to maximize profits, the carrot is put on a timer. Anchor stores have mastered the art of timed sales. Since they have a variety of products to offer under one roof, it is easy for anchor stores to keep shoppers engaged longer than boutiques. If a sale expires by noon or earlier, for example, shoppers are more likely to go to their favorite anchor store first or the store that offers the most items for the greatest discount. Either way, timed sales help ensure that shoppers spend most of their money in one place. What I call an “all-in-one store” like Target and Walmart has a similar advantage.
In order to maximize profits, sales are often “scaled” accordingly plus or minus 10 percent. In the week or days prior to a major holiday, many retailers will offer 10, 15, 20 or 25 percent off of regular and/or sale priced items plus additional savings, e.g., $30 off a purchase of $100 or more. On the day everyone is expected to shop, retailers will revert to or near the MSRP and offer 35 percent off the highest listed price making the total savings on Black Friday, for example, nearly the same as any other sale day. For this reason, the best time to shop for items other than electronics and toys is at the end of a season when retailers have no choice but to offer goods at cost or less than cost just to move inventory. Granted, the pickings are slim at the end of a season. However, shopping during off seasons reinforces the very practical habit of shopping for what you need versus shopping for what you want.
8 tips to shopping like it’s “Black Friday”
Is it possible to experience Black Friday more often than once a year? Absolutely. The following are tips for those who do not like crowds, disarray, stampedes or melee and those who want every sale to be like Black Friday.
Got more like Black Friday tips? Share them today!
Isha Edwards is an idea catalyst for individuals and organizations across 12 industries including music, media, fashion, film, academia, professional services, nonprofit, and small business administration. Through EPiC Measures, Isha provides brand-driven marketing consulting and business development services.