For anyone who’s been living under a rock for the past 30 years, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the United States as well as other select countries around the world, known as the start of holiday shopping. The name originated in Philadelphia around 1961, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Years later, an alternative explanation pinned Black Friday as a reference to the most profitable day of the year for retailers. And since businesses typically report losses in red and gains in black, “Black Friday” was born. Whatever the origin, it’s safe to say a marketer was involved at some point to brand this phenomenon.
While I’m the first to say ‘no harm, no foul’, it’s clear that’s not the case when it comes to Black Friday. Since 2006, there have been 7 reported deaths and 98 injuries throughout the United States. All of which surprises me, since Cyber Monday has been a compelling reason to stay in your warm home and shop online since it originated in 2005.
Cyber Monday Deals Overtake Black Friday
It’s easy to see the convenience and desirability of online shopping for Christmas gifts, especially if the retailer offers perks like free shipping and returns. And it’s also easy to see that for some retailers, you get the best deals when you’re in-store. So the question for retailers becomes, ‘How do we market ourselves so that people shop with us instead of our competitors, whether it be on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday or any other day before Christmas?’.
How To Command Attention During the Holidays
Set your sale calendar and make it public ASAP
These days, deals for Black Friday are announced weeks in advance. Amazon’s Black Friday deals started eight days in advance! You can tell Christmas is just around the corner because Santa and snowman figurines take up a section of Halloween shelf space, signaling the Christmas countdown is on! So, why not have the same kind of advance notice for shopping sales and deals?
Messaging that starts weeks in advance of Thanksgiving.
Close down your retail location for Thanksgiving. Yes, you read that correctly.
To be different is to be remembered. This year, some retailers are trying to set an example for other retailers and consumers alike. At the very core, their message is that their employees deserve to be with their families on Thanksgiving too. But further interpretation could lead you to interpret this as a message: “what the heck are you doing sitting in the parking lot waiting for the store to open. Shouldn’t you be with your family??”. These exemplary retailers include Babies R Us, Game Stop, Ikea and more. And some, like REI are taking the opportunity to set themselves apart with great advertising when announcing they’re closed.
Create your own special shopping day
Whichever tactic you choose to market your holiday-sale period, make sure it speaks to your target audience and be careful to not SPAM your contacts. At the end of it all (specifically December 26th) you need these people to shop with you year round, and not just the 29ish days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.