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The Ebbing Appeal of Black Friday

In decades past, retailers counted on the day after Thanksgiving to bring in a surge of sales that would push their businesses into profitability. More recently, however, consumers and sellers alike have more options, which has allowed the Black Friday phenomenon to wane.

In the recent past, Small Business Saturday was created to encourage support of local businesses. Cyber Monday, meanwhile, was invented to give e-commerce retailers their chance at increasing sales. Next, non-profit organizations hopped on the bandwagon with Giving Tuesday to encourage people to support good causes and balance out the commercial aspects of the week.

Further, in typical fashion, retailers have begun starting their sales earlier and offering deals longer in hopes of getting a bigger piece of the retail pie. With more choices, many consumers are losing interest, the recently released JDA 2016 Consumer Survey found.

In fact, three out of four shoppers would rather do their holiday shopping outside of the holiday season. Nearly half reported that they plan to skip Black Friday and Cyber Monday in favor of less hectic shopping opportunities. Take a look at the infographic below to see more details from the study.

The overarching message is clear: consumers are looking from more from their retailers and buy based on factors other than sale prices. Some highlights:

  • Free shipping builds customer loyalty: “Consumers are cost-conscious, particularly when it comes to shipping, and increasingly expect retailers to bear the cost, with one in four saying they do not shop anywhere that does not offer free shipping,” the survey said.
  • Easy relationships are critical: “Consumers expect seamless shopping experiences and are unforgiving toward retailers who disappoint them, especially during the peak holiday season,” JDA said.
  • Buy Online Pick-up in Store (BOPIS) grows: Cost and convenience seem to be the primary drivers of growing adoption rates, with 39% using it to avoid home delivery charges and 31% percent wanting the product sooner,” according to the study.
  • Easy returns create success: “Buy Online Return in Store (BORIS) is the current trending omni-channel capability. As customer expectations for seamless physical and digital shopping increase, the expectation of returning an item via the store is growing,” JDA said.
  • Workforce challenges loom: “Given the condensed holiday calendar this year, retailers must carefully consider their workforce planning for both in-store, omni-channel support and additional staffing at distribution centers,” the study explained.

The big takeaway from the study is that consumers are becoming more demanding. Their loyalty will go to the retailer that delivers on their very high expectations every day of the year, not just during one big shopping weekend.

— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN Circle me on Google+ Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn page Friend me on Facebook

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