Get ready for the Black Friday?

Midnight approaches—it’s almost Black Friday 2013! Are you ready for a turkey meal with your family? Do you have plans to go somewhere for a refreshment? Or perhaps, you are getting more and more excited just like I am. See, it is the biggest deal season in the year. Nobody wants to miss it! —-We know it, so do merchants.

Walmart      A.C.Moore

According to Ewoldt (2013), as much as 40 percent of retailers’ annual sales were rung up during the holiday season and retailers had been taught about the fact long before. In this year, with television ads and doorbuster-worthy deals kicking in as early as Nov. 1, the holiday push has already been underway. Retailers were fully prepared with bag of tricks to woo Black Friday shoppers, through which, they were hoping that this year’s Black Friday weekend would bring bigger sales than last year (about $580 billion), when retail sales actually fell 1.8 percent.

Strategy 1: The Price War
From home department to fashion, beauty and food, we can find special savings and coupons almost everywhere. Take Walmart as an example, its best deals include an Emerson 50-inch HDTV for $288 and Monster Beats by Dr. Dre Solo headphones for $115 (Dealnews. com). However, the question is—- will the special price strategy work to drive traffics to Walmart’s stores?

The answer will probably be no. As Ben Nettleton, the web editor of Global Healing Center, Walmart’s strategy may work for its stable of cost conscious shoppers, but it will not be enough to bring in the haters. For example, part of the reason that many people hate going to Walmart is dealing with the crowd. (See the video below and you will know how crazy it was in the last year).

Other reasons that may keep consumers away from Walmart include the convenience of online shopping experience and similar deals available from other retailers. Consumers are always expecting bigger discounts. For them, many deals of Black Friday are simply not big and attractive enough.

Strategy2 The Earlier the Better


The early opening strategy largely aims to take business away from competitors, and prevents rivals from doing the same. In this year, many retailers decide to start sales earlier than past few years. They are—-
* Target (sale starts at 8 PM Thursday, 11/28)
* Kohl’s (sale starts 8 PM Thursday, 11/28 and earn $15 Kohl’s cash for every $50 spent November 26 – December 1)
* Costco (some sales starting Sunday 11/24, some sales valid Friday 11/29 through Sunday 12/1 and some sales only valid online 11/29 – 12/1)
* BJ’s (sales starting as early as November 24)

Also, Stores will open early on the Thanksgiving Morning
* Kmart: Opens 6 am on Thanksgiving morning through 11 pm on Black Friday
* Sears: Opens 8 am on Thanksgiving morning through 1 pm Friday they will offer their doorbuster sales

According to Mark Bergen, the associate dean of marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School, the earlier opening strategy does work. “If I get you into my store first or second, I may get 20 or 30 percent of a consumer’s dollars instead of 10 percent,” said Mark Bergen.
However, when this strategy is widely adopted, will it still be effective? How do you feel about it? Is really the earlier the better?

Strategy3 Social Media Battlefield

For business giants, social media has already been part of their media strategies to reach people and maximize campaign effects. On Facebook, we can see a lot of promotions from them in recent days. However, for small business, social media is also their best choice for celebrating the Black Friday, because the budget of social media is low yet the ROI is high.

In November. 10, Tech Cocktail published a short article, talking about social media strategies for especially small business to win the Thanksgiving season. It said that small business should ‘launch targeted social media campaigns designed to alert consumers to Black Friday deals while promoting their brand as a small business worth talking—or tweeting—about’.
As part of media integration, social media is playing an increasingly significant role in marketing strategy. In the meantime, the competition on this battlefield is getting fierce and cut-throat. Comparing to selling giants, does social media benefit small business more?

While we are all expecting for the coming Black Friday, it is good time to share  Black Friday information and plans with friends. Or tell me anything you are interested in with these campaigns.


Ewoldt, J. (2013) Retailers Will Try Bag of Tricks to Woo Black Friday Shoppers, Nov 16.
Prosser, F. (2013) Black Friday New Ads: Target, Walmart, Kmart, Sears, Kohl’s& Many More! Nov 15.
Smith, J. (2013) Are Walmart Black Friday Deals Big Enough to Get Haters in the Door? Nov, 15.
Tech Cocktail (2013) Banking on Black Friday: Savvy Social Media Strategies for Your Business, Nov 10.

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8 Responses to Get ready for the Black Friday?

  1. plama says:

    Hey Tang, I think social media do help small stores to share information of their offers and products. In case if they have a website, they could sell their products online. It would be interesting if all the brands have the same offer of Black Friday on their online store and provide more platforms to customers rather than only the physical store. It could definitely help people from standing in the long line and picking up wrong products in hurry.

  2. Fangya Li says:

    When I think of Black Friday, two things come up to my mind: fairly low prices and crowds. I hate to wait in line for a long time when I buy things, thus I guess Black Friday is not my type of holiday. As Wenjing mentions, it is true that for people who like me, we won’t go to Wal-Mart just because the price is quite low. However, I have to admit that low prices are really attractive. If Wal-Mart has similar promotions online and its website is easy to use, I will definitely go to its website on that day.

  3. Moran Pei says:

    The Black Friday reminds me a very similar event in China, the 11/11 Shopping Festival. Different from the Black Friday, the festival was for online shopping at first, and then spreaded to off-line in this year. In addition, Black Friday and 11/11 Festival are both followed by a smaller event later: Cyber Monday, and 12/12 Festival. I think it will be very interesting to compare the similarities and differences between the Black Friday and the 11/11 Shopping Festival.

    • Wenjing Tang says:

      Thanks for your suggestion, Moran. You give me another way to consider about the Black Friday campaign. It is very interesting to see that we celebrate similar shopping events in both U.S. and China.

  4. Mengchu says:

    It is interesting to see that mechants use different strategies to create the excitement of Black Friday. From my own experiences, some of the strategies may not be very appealing. For example, I really don’t want the emails from big shopping malls to spam my mail box. But I do think that social media provide good platforms for shopping malls to create the buzz. The information about Black Friday on social media can be more playful instead of straightforward. It is important to get target audience involved than purely persuading them.

  5. Andrea Pan says:

    Hi Wenjing, interesting post and good timing! I wonder how effective traditional Black Friday strategies such as price war and opening early would be. Every holiday season, tons and tons of promotions simply FLOOD my inbox. With enormous amount of great deals available online, I think more and more consumers are opting for a much smarter and easier way to take advantage of holiday sales, instead of doing the traditional “hard core shopping” — staying up the whole night waiting in lines and not even knowing if you can get what you want. With that being said, I think you are absolutely right about social media and how it can provide great opportunities for small businesses. It is what most consumers of today mainly rely on to receive information after all.

    • Wenjing Tang says:

      After experiencing the Black Friday in Camarillo, I believe that the ‘early openning time’ strategy matters. In Camarillo, there were so many people queueing up outside stores and some of them even started shopping at 3 a.m.! By moving up openning time, those stores could extend their business hours. As a result, they were delighted to see a larger crowd of consumers rushing to their stores on Black Friday.

  6. Lilian Mak says:

    Thanks for sharing! I’m sure everyone is excited about Black Friday but I have actually seen some deals that are deceiving to the consumers. They have put up their regular prices to a higher price and then give 30% discount that will go back to the original price. This kind of promotion is misleading and if consumers find out, it may hurt the business.
    Other than that, I think if the deals are cheap enough, people are definitely willing to sacrifice their time and line up in the crowd to get the items. So I don’t think it is particularly deterring. Yet, I have been to the outlets on Wednesday, which was before Black Friday and most of the stores have already started offering the Black Friday deals. Hence, I do not need to deal with crowd and think that starting early opening deals are comparatively more advantaged for businesses. (YAY! and a good tip for all shoppers)
    However, there have been a considerable of good bargains now offered online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday that I feel there is a no need to line up and shop with the crowd. I personally think that online shopping have become the new battlefield for businesses.