Black Friday hasn’t always conjured images of waiting outside the mall at midnight after Thanksgiving dinner was over, or pushing through crowds of fellow shoppers vying for the best promotional sales retail has to offer. Black Friday’s origins were a natural progression of the heavier retail traffic seen after Thanksgiving (in the US at least), and many businesses seeing their yearly profits emerge during the holiday shopping season (moving from being “in the red” to “in the black”).
Black Friday has become an annual event for shoppers, businesses, and marketers alike. That whole weekend is now “Black Friday Weekend.” Some retailers are pushing for more extreme and exclusive shopping opportunities to lure customers through their doors, opening at 6 AM, 5 AM, midnight, or even the day of Thanksgiving itself.
Unfortunately, the numbers from this year’s Black Friday were less than ideal. The National Retail Foundation (the NRF) reported a decrease in Black Friday profits in comparison to those from 2013, as well as some considerations on the changing face of retail and how it’s affecting sales.
Perhaps Black Friday shouldn’t be considered the silver bullet of the holiday shopping season. It is a “season” after all, running from November through the end of the year. The NRF had originally projected an overall increase in holiday sales by 4.1% for 2014, so we’re curious to see what numbers will be when this year finishes out.
The increase of digital and mobile is also changing how consumers are doing their shopping. Cyber Monday is an established event for brick-and-mortar retailers that offer online shopping, and especially for online retail giants like Amazon. IBM reported that mobile shopping outpaced desktop shopping on Thanksgiving day for the first time in history, and mobile traffic on Black Friday accounted for half of online traffic on Black Friday, up 25% from 2013.
But as we at Where2GetIt have said before, we don’t believe brick-and-mortar is dead. Consumers still like to shop in physical locations, and if retail heavyweights like Amazon are opening up brick-and-mortar locations then there’s much to be said for appealing to consumers that prefer shopping in an actual store.
Digital and mobile may be on the rise, but physical business locations can use these to their advantage: We’re eager to know is how beacon technology is faring. Talk of beacon tech has been rumbling all year, with popular retailers like Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Walmart already using or testing beacons in their locations. It’s too early to pull much data on the subject, but the rising popularity of beacons’ use can only herald a bigger focus on mobile and digital marketing.
At Where2GetIt we focus on location-based digital marketing solutions. With Brandify we serve over 500,000 brick-and-mortar locations and help our clients build a brand that people love. Feel free to contact us to learn more.