By SUZANNE KAPNER
Updated Nov. 1, 2016 1:22 p.m. ET
The day After Thanksgiving (Friday) is known as Black Friday. This also is unofficially or officially start of holiday shopping season. Almost all stores come out with Doorbuster Sales with early bird special to attract consumers to their stores. People stand in line hours before store is opened, to grab the bargain of the year. Almost every store has something that interests every one. For bargain hunters, if there is a biggest festival in a year, that would be, no doubt, the Black Friday. In last few years (starting from 2013 to be precise), Black Friday Sales have started way before Friday-with some stores starting their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving day & some even starting on Wednesday. It would not be surprising to see Black Friday sale starting from Monday on that week. Biggest sales day now include Thanksgiving Day, Green Monday and Cyber Monday.
Black Friday is an ingrained part of USA’s collective shopping culture, and as such, there is a great deal of hype surrounding limited quantity doorbusters, which can offer up to 80% off retail prices. Shoppers can only get these special deals at the very beginning of the sales, right when the doors open. Moreover, major retailers create a sense of urgency by offering special deals to draw the crowds into stores even after doorbusters have sold out. Some of the marketing methods that stores employ to create urgency include:
- Advertising ridiculously low prices on certain items
- Offering special sales for limited hours during the day
- Limiting the number of items available for purchase at the special price
- Offering additional loss leaders, merchandise priced lower than actual cost
What’s interesting about this article is the fact that circulars from retailers like Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart repeat products, prices from holidays past. The front page of Target Corp.’s 2015 Black Friday circular was almost identical to the front page of its 2014 circular, displaying Beats headphones, a Nikon digital camera, DVDs and an Xbox gaming console. In fact, every Target Black Friday circular since 2008 has featured a Razor scooter, with the price fluctuating between $17 and $22, according to Brad’s Deals, a website that tracks retail discounts. For the past two years, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Black Friday newspaper inserts have included a $49 Toshiba hard drive, a $19 Pyrex Bake-n-Store set and a $49.97 Brother sewing machine. The Black Friday circulars of Best Buy Co., Kohl’s Corp., J.C. Penney Co. and Macy’s Inc. also have contained many items and prices that didn’t vary much from year to year.
The article further points out that 80% of the products and 43% of the prices promoted on the front pages of the 2015 and 2014 Black Friday circulars of Best Buy, Macy’s, Target, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney were identical, according to price-tracking firm Market Track LLC.
Marketing experts say the trend is likely to continue, particularly since retailers are under pressure to contain costs. “The budgets for producing these circulars are under pressure, and that’s contributing to a lack of change,” said Larry Chiagouris, a marketing professor at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York.