Are you moving your Thanksgiving dinner from the dining room to the Best Buy (BBY) parking lot? As Black Friday creeps ever earlier, the electronics giant is just one of the many retailers hoping you’ll forgo the extra stuffing and get in line for stuff at their stores.
Is nothing sacred? Will this trend continue? Jessica Bornn of Merchant Forecast is here to put your mind at ease.
“I believe it’s a test,” she says. “I think you’ll see more and more retailers kind of realizing, ‘Hey we can wait 'til Black Friday. Let’s let our employees have a nice dinner with their family and come to work in the morning.’”
So then what are the stores that are opening that Thursday evening up to? Bornn says it's a way to guage consumer interest before making key Black Friday decisions. “I think they’re obviously going to hold back on some of the door-busters and major events that are planned for Black Friday,” she notes. “They’re probably going to make decisions overnight as to how they want to open with their Black Friday deals in the morning.”
It all comes down to retailers finding new ways to drum up buzz before the holiday season really gets going. Opening on Thanksgiving certainly serves that purpose but, says Bornn, so does Macy’s (M) web-based strategy that will keep families at home together.
“The week before Thanksgiving [Macy’s is] offering the ability to go on their website and basically make... a shopping list and pick items that you want and it shows the deal for Black Friday. It’s pre-shopping. It’s building excitement and that’s a really nice way to generate some buzz before the stores open on Black Friday.”
eCommerce still makes up just about six and a half percent of the U.S. consumer’s retail spend each year. That certainly leaves a lot of room for growth for such companies but it means that Black Friday shenanigans aren’t going anywhere. Stores are still under pressure to offer the best stampede-inducing deals at their old brick and mortar locations. That means it’s up to us to tell the Best Buys of the world to let us enjoy a few more helpings of pie before we hand over our cash.
“I think Cyber Monday is still important,” Bornn admits. “It does drive traffic to the web. But at the end of the day it’s ingrained in the customer’s mind to go to the stores on Black Friday because, ‘I’m gonna miss out on something if I’m not there,’ and that hasn’t gone away yet.