Thursday, November 28, 2013

Five Things You (And Retailers) Might Not Know About This Black Friday Weekend

Alert the media! There will be big deals this Black Friday weekend! Retailers will duke it out for share of consumers’ wallets and one up one another with giant door busters!

Every holiday season, we reporter folk spin an all-too familiar tale, churning out breathless stories about how big the promotions will be this holiday season at the nation’s stores — as though it were some sort of revelation.
The breathlessness heightened when the economy fell to its knees in 2008. But the reality is, we’ve settled into a new, hyper-deal-seeking normal after the worst downturn since the Great Depression – so big retail promotions are even less newsworthy than they ever were.
But having said that, here are a few tidbits/predictions – from the rise of “webrooming” to the advent of “digital moms” – that you and the retail sector might not necessarily be so alert to this coming Black Friday weekend.
Let the games begin.
Step Aside, Showrooming: ‘Webrooming’ Is The Next Big Thing
Showrooming?  When consumers browse brick-and-mortar stores for an item, only to buy it online later for less? That’s so 2012.
More consumers will be webrooming than showrooming this holiday season, according to ForeSee, which helps retailers measure the customer experience.
Research from ForeSee conducted during the 2012 holiday season found that 49% of store purchasers prefer to research online before purchasing in store, compared to 15% who prefer to research and purchase in store.
“Today’s multidevice consumers increasingly desire and expect a seamless experience across channels – so they can interact with a brand in one channel, and pick up right where they left off, in another,” Larry Freed, CEO of ForeSee, told
“Consumers view their experiences with a company as just that – an experience with a company, not with individual channels. By embracing webrooming – where consumers do research online, and then make a purchase in stores – retailers have an opportunity to provide a consistent, cohesive experience that drives loyalty,” he said.
“To that end, look for forward-looking brands to make it easy this holiday season for customers to do things like make wish lists and reserve items online, and then pick up those items in stores.”
Best Buy BBY -0.18%, for one, is banking on showrooming to lead to a webrooming windfall for the consumer electronics chain this holiday selling season.
The retailer’s holiday campaign, dubbed, “Your Ultimate Holiday Showroom,” cheekily invites shoppers to engage in the practice, and in theory, then make a purchase in the store.
According to a study of 50 major retailers by email marketing firm Yesmail, the best day for social media engagement for Black Friday deals is today, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
“Yet it was the fourth-most popular day of Thanksgiving week to deploy campaigns in 2012, accounting for only 14% of brands’ Black Friday Facebook posts and tweets,” the report said. “The data suggests marketers are missing an opportunity to boost sales during a slow holiday season.”
Cash (Not Plastic) Is King This Holiday Weekend
Across income levels, shoppers plan to use credit cards less to pay for their gift purchases during the weekend shopping spree, according to a consumer survey conducted by ITG Investment Research.
“No one, it seems, is really set on borrowing against future earnings to finance holiday gifts,” said Steve Blitz, director and chief economist of ITG, in the report.
“Among those earning $35,000 to $50,000 per year, 43% plan to use credit cards less and only 9% say ‘more.’ Even jumping to the $75,000 to $100,000 income bracket, 32% say ‘less,’ and only 8% say ‘more.’”
Black Friday Camping Out: A Dying Tradition
Traditional Black Friday shopping expeditions – camping outside stores overnight to be the first to nab deals when the doors swing open — is becoming passĂ©.
While 53% of shoppers still plan to shop in stores this weekend, that number has dropped 10% from 63 percent last year, according to a Deloitte survey.
“Black Friday is changing – gone are the days when consumers line up in front of stores,” echoed a press release from Simon-Kucher & Partners LLC. 
This year the camping out tradition will weaken further, as more of the nation’s biggest chains – from Wal-Mart and Target TGT +1.11% to Macy’s and Best Buy — open their doors on Thanksgiving Day, according to Simon-Kucher.
A Digital Black Friday For Mom, The Biggest Holiday Spender
It turns out Moms are the biggest holiday spenders, and many of this digital-savvy bunch will be shopping online.
A whopping 71% of moms account for 75% or more of all gift purchases this holiday season, and nearly one third of the 1,000 Moms surveyed by Adroit Digital said they would skip the in-store crowds, opting to do 60% or more of their shopping online.
“This creates a unique opportunity for retailers to engage with them on desktops and mobile devices,” said Adroit’s holiday trend report.
Government Shutdown Had No Real Impact On Consumer Sentiment
Retailers and industry watchers alike warned that the government shutdown last month would cast a pall over consumer spending for the holiday season. They were mostly wrong, according to a Deloitte survey.
Indeed most consumers surveyed (80%) said their spending has not been negatively impacted by the government shutdown, the report said.

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