To Open or Not to Open…That Is The Question

 In Be Calendar Relevant, Drive Traffic, Marketing Plan, Planning

And so it goes every year: Black Friday sales that begin at even more extreme hours of the day (and night). Some mega-stores open at midnight on Thanksgiving with promises of super discounts, others open bright and early at 5:00 AM on Friday morning with “door-buster” sales.

For some consumers, these late night / early morning sales are a part of their Thanksgiving tradition. They get all of their Christmas shopping out of the way, and score some good deals. Frankly, I never saw the appeal in this mad rush to shop, as I like to sleep in on Black Friday, eating leftovers and watching bad TV in a happy tryptophan-induced coma. But I digress.

However, some retailers are kicking off their “Black Friday” sales on Thanksgiving Day proper.

Can we attribute this to the fact that, according to a Deloitte survey, 25% of Americans said they planned to shop on Thanksgiving Day this year? Or maybe it’s because the 2013 holiday shopping season (from Black Friday to Christmas) is 6 days shorter than last year.

Whatever the reason, it has some consumers worried that they’ll miss the best deals if they wait until Friday to shop. It has others claiming these mega-stores are forcing consumerism into what should be a day of family and rest.

Huffington Post recently published an article entitled, “Costco, Nordstrom Refuse to Ruin Thanksgiving,” which outlines various retail practices on or around Black Friday. Nordstrom’s tradition is to reveal their holiday displays on Black Friday proper, and places like Costco or BJ’s Wholesale don’t see a worthwhile amount of customer turnout on Thanksgiving to warrant being open. Some companies just want to give their employees a much-needed day off.

Whether you’re a retailer or a consumer, what you’re doing on Thanksgiving Day is based on what’s most important to you. It’s that simple.

If what’s most important to you (as a consumer) is that you get that flat screen TV at the lowest possible price (no judgment), then you might have to choose between turkey time and time spent in line at Best Buy on Thanksgiving.

And if, as a retailer, your priority is moving product before the end of the year, and making up for a poor 3rd quarter, then opening a little earlier on Friday (or even Thursday night) could be a fiscally responsible move.

It’s quite the hot topic this year. How is your business approaching it?

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