Find out what is Black Friday, why, and when it is celebrated and all the facts associated with this day. Explore how Black Friday is beneficial for you.
The informal name of the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States is Black Friday. Officially, Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday are celebrated on the fourth Thursday and Friday of November, respectively. The day is regarded as the beginning of the United States shopping season since 1952.
On black Friday, almost all the stores in the market are engaged in highly promoted sales. Shops open early in the morning, some even a day earlier on Thanksgiving Day, and they make the customers to “shop till they drop.” The customers are offered exclusive deals and slashed prices for that specific day. The items are heavily discounted to have the customer snap up as many products as possible. You can see customers queuing outside the stores, even before the stores are open to being able to buy as many goods as they can.
Black Friday is not an official holiday, but in states like California, “The day after Thanksgiving Day” is observed as a holiday for state government employees. Many non-retail employees and school children also get a holiday to indulge in shopping with their families. Since 2005, this day is regarded as the busiest shopping day of the year for retailers in the United States. This day generates sales worth billions of dollars all over the country.
The other days in the week
Black Friday is accompanied by two other events in a span of 5 days- Thanksgiving Day, which precedes Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which is celebrated Monday succeeding Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving Day is considered a national holiday and is celebrated on various states in the United States, Canada, some Caribbean countries, and Liberia. The United state celebrates Thanksgiving Day on the last Thursday of November. This day is dedicated to showing gratitude to farmers for their sacrifice and the blessing of the harvest and the preceding year.
Cyber Monday is a marketing term that is used for the Monday succeeding Thanksgiving holiday. This term made its debut in a press release by shop.org on November 28, 2005. Cyber Monday is considered as the online equivalent to Black Friday and offers an easy way to small retailers to compete with large market players. The e-commerce market players provide big discounts on various products similar to Black Friday.
Origin of the name
The origin of Black Friday is still widely debated, with many theories being put forward. However, there are two widely accepted theories on the origin of black Friday.
The earliest known use of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving Day, occurred in a journal named FACTORY MANAGEMENT AND MAINTENANCE for November 1951 and 1952. This referred to the day when workers all over the country used to call in sick after Thanksgiving Day in order to enjoy a four day weekend.
The other theory is derived from The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 28, 1981. The theory states that the retailers used to operate at a financial loss for most of the year, and then instantly used to make a profit during the holiday season beginning the day after Thanksgiving Day. While keeping records in a finance book, the shopkeepers used red ink to show the negative amount and black ink to show positive amounts. Thus, Black Friday, under this theory, is the beginning of the period when the retailers would start making a profit; that is, they would begin to live in “the black.”
The introduction of e-commerce to Black Friday
It is widely accepted that black Friday is losing its importance to the E-Commerce industry. Now the black Friday is not the same as it was a decade ago. It has merely become a family tradition to go on for shopping that particular day.
Why people prefer to buy from the e-commerce
There are many reasons why people prefer to go for online shopping instead. One of the widely accepted reasons is that people prefer to stay at home and order the items they want to buy, thus saving their time and energy. Moreover, a lack of variety in street shops also plays a significant role in convincing the customers to choose the e-commerce platforms.
How it affects the local high street business
The E-Commerce companies have transformed the shopping day to a shopping month and hence forced the physical shops to do the same to remain in the competition. So for bargain shoppers, Black Friday is no longer the best day of the year anymore, both online and offline.
With Black Friday losing its importance, it will significantly tell upon the financial status of of the local high Street business. And hence, it will also affect the tradition of the country of going out to purchase items on a particular day.
How e-commerce can help high street shops and SMEs
However, despite the tradition of Black Friday being adversely affected by the emergence of the e-commerce industry, there is still a magnificent opportunity for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to increase their business. The SMEs can register themselves as retailers in such E-Commerce companies and put all their products on sale. This will help them to reach more and more customers and make profits. At the same time, The E-Commerce industry can also put such mega offers on a different part of the year, like June or July, which will give the SMEs an opportunity to sell their products peacefully on Black Friday.
Tips for SMEs to counter the e-commerce advantage
The physical retailers must use a range of tactics to attract customers on Black Friday and other days too. They should avoid staying loyal to a particular brand and start providing discounts on almost all the products they have.
The shopkeepers should aim to retain their permanent consumers and start emailing them beforehand about the fabulous offers and discounts they are providing on Black Friday and even offer some discount coupons for pre-ordering.
With the emergence of The E-Commerce industry, physical retailers must accept the fact that if they do not enter the world of advertising on the online market, they will inevitably lag behind. They should design creative advertisements and advertise on social media platforms like popular Instagram and Facebook, which may persuade the customer to come to their shops to avail of the given discount or offer.
Tips for SMEs or high street shops for Black Friday
- Increase investment in advertisements: In the world of the e-commerce industry, you should be able to convince the customers to visit your stores without even meeting them. The key to doing this is advertising extensively, targetting a selected group of customers. Increase your investment in advertisements on popular social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, where a lot of people spend their time nowadays. It is advisable to hire a professional designer who can design attractive advertisements to target the desired customers.
- Set your objectives clear: Setting your goals clear will help you to avoid chaos days before the Black Friday when you will need to do all kinds of planning and advertisements. You may either choose to increase your sales profit significantly and almost clear up all the old merchandise or decide to make new customers for the future. Both objectives require a lot of planning well in advance and hence plan accordingly.
- Upsell existing customers: One of the critical strategies for success on Black Friday is to retain and upsell your existing customers. Then you can concentrate all your advertisements on gathering new customers. The combination of using emotional and time-sensitive offers can help generate record sales numbers from your old client’s side. You should be able to make your clients feel consequential and unique by offering special discount prices and offers exclusively to them. This will attract them, and it will be beneficial for the future of your business, too, by buying their loyalty.
- Don’t stick to a particular brand: Sticking to a specific brand nowadays gives an advantage to The E-Commerce companies which feature almost all the brands in the world. Maintain considerable stalk of different brands and provide attractive discounts on all of them, which will compel the customer to buy more and more products from you.
- Give massive discounts on “hot” and popular items: Generally, the retailers put the best deals on the products from the previous years or the products that the retailers want to clear out to make room for new merchandise. Very often, the popular product or “hot” products are not heavily discounted for Black Friday at all – in fact; their prices remain the same. This may put a negative impression on the customers. Hence it is advisable to give heavy discounts on these popular products. It drives the customers to your store in order to purchase them. After that, they might even be interested in looking for some other products which you wanted to clear out. This easily increases your sales.
- Stop relying exclusively on discounts: The retailers must understand that relying solely on discounts can prove to be catastrophic. They should realize that other shops, as well as E-Commerce websites, are also giving almost the same or even better discounts and offers to the consumers. Then the question arises, why should the consumer choose your shop? You may work more on advertisements targeting a certain customer group, retaining the loyalty of loyal customers giving them special offers, and keeping a variety of items.
Tips for customers
- Set a budget for the shopping day: The fatal mistake most of the middle-class family is two is to spend all the savings on the Black Friday shopping and later on regret. One should be aware of his or her financial limitations and plan of the budget accordingly.
- Make a list of items you really need to purchase or present as gifts in the Christmas celebrations: It is advisable to make a list of items you really need to buy beforehand and try to stick to it strictly. This will surely minimize your expenditure and wastage of money. I know how good it feels when you buy a gift for someone, but it will be better for you if you purchase gifts for limited people, according to your budget.
- Know retailer’s tricks: You should be aware of all the tricks retailers will use to make you spend more than your budget and buy not such essential items. On black Friday, almost all the retailers will try to use the psychological manipulations on their customers, and you should be smart enough to avoid them. Generally, the retailers position extremely cheap items at the front of the store or put some cheap items like candies, sodas, reusable shopping bags at the checkout desk in an effort to make you pay few more dollars.
- Be wary of faulty, too old or expired products: Generally, many retailers put hefty discounts on faulty or very old merchandise in order to attract middle class or poor customers. They may tend to purchase this is 40 items and, in the end, feel cheated. So, think twice before going for a heavily discounted product.
- Ignore doorbuster deals: Even in the age of online shopping, some retailers continue to run doorbuster deals on electronic home appliances in order to get people to shop rather than online stores. Most of these products are in limited quantity in order to make the customer purchase other products which are quite expensive and hence it might not be a good idea to fall for these traps.
- Compare prices of the products in e-commerce sites beforehand: for a middle-class customer, it is advisable to compare the prices of products in e-commerce websites beforehand. On black Friday shopping, you may find it easier to decide which one to go for and which one is providing a better deal.
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