The Disappearance of Black Friday

The Disappearance of Black Friday

For the past several years, retailers have started opening up as early as possible on the day after Thanksgiving, affectionately known as “Black Friday.” It used to be that the stores would open at 8 a.m., then 7 a.m., then 5 a.m., then even 4 a.m. This year, stores are actually opening on Thanksgiving for Black Friday. I think it's safe to say that next year, stores won't even bother closing on Thanksgiving as sales have become that important to them.

Read on for my commentary on stores opening on Thanksgiving.

The Unfortunate Message

The unfortunate message in all this is that retailers are viewing Thanksgiving as just another insignificant holiday. How many stores do you know close for July 4th? Memorial Day? Easter? Labor Day? Veteran's Day? Seems to me only government offices and banks close for these holidays. If you're a retailer of any sort, you're usually open.

Question: Have we reached the point where sales are so important and jumpstarting the holiday shopping season by a scant 12 to 16  hours is going to make a huge difference in the bottom-line?

I know that the retailers fall over themselves to try and best the other guy, but at what cost? The holiday season is meant to be a time for families to enjoy each other. To give thanks. To appreciate the many blessings in their lives. But for retailers to demand that these employees sacrifice their holidays in an effort to line the retailer's pockets, is disappointing to say the least.

Another thing to consider, it's eroding the responsibilities of the marketing department. Retail marketing departments spend months planning for Black Friday and coming up with ways to try and have something that is even more enticing than their competitors. But by opening on Thanksgiving, their original idea of opening early isn't as novel as it used to be. Now here's a novelty, since all the retailers are shifting towards being open on Thanksgiving, what if you're a store who changes course and is closed on Thanksgiving and opens early on Black Friday? Yes, you offer amazing door-busting deals that your competitors can't match, so customers are still going to want your deals. One of four scenarios will occur:

  1. The customers will either brave the other Thanksgiving Day shoppers while shopping your competitors and then patronize your store the next day.
  2. They'll shop your store exclusively on Black Friday.
  3. They won't shop you at all.
  4. They'll shop when it's convenient.

I'd venture to say that if the deals you offer are spectacular, you won't have to worry about that latter two scenarios.

At the end of the day, a sale is a sale and it still goes towards the holiday season bottom-line, regardless of when that sale occurs. I think the motivation for opening on Thanksgiving stinks and that the time should be spent with family. What do you think? Am I off-base in my observations? Let's discuss.

Disclosure of Material Connection

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