The holiday shopping season is typically the biggest of the year, and retailers are looking to get shoppers thinking about holiday shopping sooner this year than in years past. Wal-Mart and Toys R Us have already begun airing holiday shopping advertisements, and stores continue to push Black Friday earlier into Thanksgiving Thursday. My question is whether this tactic will work to spur holiday sales. Last year, many retailers noted that after the initial rush around Black Friday, there was a lull in sales, begging me to ask whether earlier shopping incentives actually work to elevate holiday sales. In this edition of Retail Rap, I dig into what retailers are doing to engage shoppers earlier and how this trend will play out this holiday season.
My biggest question about the early start to holiday sales is whether or not it works. I can’t help but wonder how much, if any, impact it will have on sales. Last year, virtually every employee I spoke to at several different brands mentioned a similar phenomenon: after the hustle and bustle of the initial opening, there was a pronounced lull that didn’t really pick up until prime-time shopping hours on Friday. In other words, whether that initial door-buster rush takes place at 8 p.m., midnight, or 5 a.m. on Friday, the overall shopper/sales volume seemed to be fairly similar. So is this strategy based on getting folks in the door, or just something that more brands are doing because they feel like they can’t afford not to — an effort to keep up with the proverbial Joneses?
Check out the full article from my recurring column, Retail Rap, at Chain Store Age.