Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Black Friday Notes

With less than 48 hours to go what is it with Black Friday anyway?

Recent research explains why we like Black Friday; it is biological.
  • Coupons relax us, make us happy.  They release a hormone associated with trust and love.
  • Line waiting: Ritual, not pain. It "constitute[s] a collective consumption ritual"
  • The possibility of fighting over goods is exciting.   "perceived competition ... creates positive emotions and induces hedonic shopping value."
OK, I won't be there with my close friends jostling with the crowd singing kumbaya.  So, here are some things retailers are doing to make it interesting:
  • Oops, it started 48 hours ago. Black Friday isn't a day anymore with deals spreading out before and after the 4th Friday of the month.  "Magical Friday", Disney's attempt at hijacking a brand, actually started two days ago on a Monday.
  • Black Friday isn't just for retailers anymore.  Brands are leveraging borrowed interest to get into the act.  For instance, Di-gel - a stomach remedy - is establishing a comfort zone in NY with phone charges, seats and restrooms. 
  • Walmart is introducing a food subscription service to get consumer reaction to potential products.   Samples are sent to people who sign up at - currently by invitation.
  • Target is facilitating showrooming, the practice of checking online prices in store that impacts 80% of retailers, by installing wi-fi and encouraging people to consult their phones/tablets. Their Black Friday web site offers deals via text message campaign. 
  • Macy's is putting store-only items on the mobile device by passing online in an attempt to "figure out the best way of offering merchandise to customers and satisfying demand."  They hope to have it figured out by 2014.
  • The strong get stronger, if you search for "Black Friday" you are quite likely to include "Walmart" or "Target" in the query.  
Ready, set, shop....

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