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2013 Black Friday: Hit or Miss for Retailers?

It’s part of the Thanksgiving tradition: gather together your friends and relatives, feast on turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, ham etc, and then at the stroke of midnight bust into retail stores and wrestle other customers for all the best electronic and clothing deals. Black Friday is notorious for being the one day of the year where retailers lower their prices and offer doorbuster deals in exchange for a (hopefully) profitable kick off to the holiday season. Will this year’s Black Friday be as successful as previous years?

 Approaching Storms

I’m not talking about storms of holiday shoppers; I’m referring to actual bad weather. Snow, rain, and hail have stopped shoppers from participating in Black Friday shopping in the past. This year, there are numerous weather threats approaching the nation: Winter Storm Boreas, floods in Florida, and a possible tornado along the northern Gulf Coast. What’s to say that customers would rather stay at home bundled in blankets and digesting their feast instead of venturing out in the dangerous cold to battle other shoppers for good deals?

Mobile/Online Shopping

Luckily, the invention of mobile and online shopping has rid the need of shoppers to be physically present in a retail store to make purchases. So even if there’s stormy weather on Black Friday, customers can still shop through their laptop, smartphone, or tablet. According to the National Retail Federation, the average customer will complete 40% of their holiday shopping online, and according to a report by Forrester Research, there will be a 15% increase of online holiday shopping this year compared to last year. Shopping online or through a smartphone liberates the customer from facing conditions such as severe weather, long lines, or chaotic crowds, thus making the overall experience a lot easier.

New Strategies 

This year, many retail stores are staggering their deals instead of allocating them all on Friday. Some retailers have begun their deals as early as a week before Black Friday and are extending their deals to weeks after. Stores will also open earlier and close later. This strategy will help control store traffic and make the experience more enjoyable for both shoppers and store employees. However, a downside would be a decrease of shoppers on the actual day of Black Friday as shoppers will be spread throughout the week.

Although sales on the day of Black Friday may decrease due to unfavorable weather conditions and staggered sale events, the development of mobile and online shopping will circumvent the decline and bring in more customers throughout the holiday season. Will you be one of these customers this season?

Sources:

  1. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/best-black-friday-ever-2013-11-22
  2. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/online-shopping-sales-seen-jumping-15-2013-11-25
  3. http://247wallst.com/retail/2013/11/26/will-storms-across-the-nation-hurt-retail-sales-with-sunny-skies-on-the-horizon/?link=mktw
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