The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, has been seen as the biggest retail-shopping day for many years now. However, in the past few years, retailers have chosen to extend their regular Black Friday sales by offering similar sales the week before and the weekend following to ease the crowds on Friday and remain competitive with other stores following suit. While Black Friday weekend was originally intended for great in-store deals, the following Monday, know as Cyber Monday, was established for consumers who wanted to stay at home and find deals while online shopping.
The separation of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals worked well at first, but as more shoppers looked to get Black Friday deals online, the distinction between the two has become less clear. With e-commerce rising, a large percentage of consumers are more willing to search for deals on the Internet rather than fighting crowds of holiday shoppers. Due to this, many businesses are applying their Black Friday deals on their website as well. While the sales start before Thanksgiving and extend throughout the following weekend, there tends to be no break between Black Friday and Cyber Mondays. With such similar deals running continuously, consumers are confused on what to expect and how to get the best deals of the season.
There are a few different approaches to putting on good promotions that companies are taking. Smaller retail stores that offer a smaller line of products typically offer a percentage off selected items or the entire store. Some stores may even gradually increase they discount percentage as they weekend continues. Often, their website will reflect the same deals for the duration of the Black Friday sale and Cyber Monday. However, there may be a few extra promotions or a gift with purchase available in stores on Friday only as an additional incentive. Additionally food and beverage sellers that are located in shopping centers may offer a discount on their products during Black Friday shopping to appeal to tired and hungry shoppers. However, they wouldn’t have much business offering Cyber Monday deals since their products are typically intended to be consumed in person at the point of sale.
Contrasting the basic retail store method, larger department stores and super stores have a bigger opportunity to diversify the sales they offer through the week. For example, one of the largest super stores, Target, may offer great deals on home goods and clothing throughout the weekend and then focus on electronics sales on Cyber Monday. Other deals they offer typically include a Target gift card with the purchase of select items. On the other hand, department stores like Nordstrom, sometimes choose to operate during their regular business hours rather than opening on Thanksgiving and opening early on Black Friday. Other than that choice, they still offer special sales during this time period, but are more likely to offer discounts on certain items or product lines instead of the entire store. Similar to superstores, department stores are more able to select different promotional items to differentiate online Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Lastly, the Saturday after Black Friday has recently been deemed Small Business Saturday. Similarly to retail store method, small business typically offer the same deals for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, provided they have an online store as well. Where some small businesses may offer a larger discount on Saturday then the remaining days, it is not always expected. Small Business Saturday is more intended to encourage consumers to support their local mom and pop shops rather than to provide door-busting deals.
Seeing as there is such uncertainty regarding what stores will offer which discounts and when is the best time to get the biggest discount at each store, shoppers are left confused and hesitant to buy even if they are receiving a fairly good deal. The thought that what they purchase today may be 10% cheaper tomorrow is weakening the level of trust between the consumer and supplier. Rather than flooding them with dozens of e-mails offering the same deals throughout the weekend, stores may have more luck being upfront with their customers. By simply making their sales clear to the customer rather then changing it everyday unexpectedly or promoting the same thing everyday, consumers would be able to develop stronger trust with a company that tells them how long their sale is scheduled to last and inform them on what items will be on sale which days. A little more clarity and trust of a retailer would ease shoppers’ uncertainties and make them more likely to spend more money during these crazy sales.