Black Friday Goes Social

Posted on: 11/23/11

Black Friday. You either enjoy it or avoid it.  However, the recession coupled with the digital age has turned the tables with consumers in control and retailers doing whatever it takes to get us into their stores.

Black Friday has been a holiday tradition for over 30 years.  The phrase “Black Friday” was coined in reference to retailers turning a profit or “being in the black” after the holiday season. A recent Star Tribune article points out however, that Black Friday has gradually lost its profitability over the years.

“Sales of apparel, furniture, and general merchandise between November and December made up less than 22 percent of retailers’ annual sales last year, compared to more than 25 percent in 1988, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).  In 2008, the year of the Great Recession, that number dipped below 21 percent.”

This has forced retailers to find new outlets to get the word out and attract more attention to their holiday deals.  Black Friday is no longer a one day event.  Consumers now have weeks to prep using all things digital to find the best deals thanks to websites like blackfriday.com and fatwallet.com where you can compare all retailers’ ads in one place.  Or you can go to Facebook and Twitter to find your favorite retailers – many have created separate Black Friday pages and Twitter handles. Target, for example, has created a Facebook event for their 4 day sale leading up to Thanksgiving. From now until November 22nd, Target is offering $25 gift cards to 25 people through an app on its Facebook page. Target also has their kooky 2 day sale spokes lady tweeting at her Twitter handle @christmaschamp where she gives sage advice on all things Black Friday at Target.

Or maybe Black Friday just isn’t your deal.  Don’t worry. You always have Cyber Monday to catch up on your holiday shopping.  Cyber Monday has gotten bigger each year since its inception in 2005 by the National Retail Federation.  Cyber Monday has become its own separate entity of deals for those who love to shop from the comfort of their own home.  This year includes major deals from online coupon companies such as Living Social and Groupon.  Living Social has half-off deals with companies such as Verizon Wireless, BlueFly, and Electronic Arts.  The deals start Friday at 5 a.m. and continue with a whole new batch of deals for Cyber Monday.

Retailers are trying to especially capture the attention of millenials, in any way possible.  Kohl’s created an annoyingly catchy Black Friday ad campaign sung to the tune of YouTube sensation Rebecca Black and her viral smash hit “Friday”.  This parody pretty much writes itself.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMH6d4Adm9U]

Only time will tell if all of these new efforts to attract savvy cyber shoppers will actually pay off for the retailers.  The hardest part for consumers however, will be narrowing down their wish lists with so many more options at their fingertips!

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