Typically, Black Friday serves as a business boon for stores otherwise struggling to draw shoppers. Unfortunately, the crazy crowds have convinced many shoppers to spend Black Friday at home. Research firm ShopperTrak reports that in 2013, Thanksgiving weekend store traffic decreased 4 percent from its peak in 2012, garnering a total of 1.8 billion visits. Although discouraged by these numbers, retailers refuse to give up on the Black Friday marketing tactics that have proven so successful through the years. Instead, experts are incorporating these genius ideas into year-round shopping.
Bonus Gift Card
Gift card sales contribute greatly to Black Friday success each year, with clueless shoppers hoping that this type of gift will keep them in good graces with friends and family members. The concept holds plenty of traction in 2013, with the National Retail Federation pointing to an average of $163.16 in spending on gift cards per shopper. Customers love gift cards, but so do retailers, who are thereby able to keep shoppers returning all year long. Companies hoping to further the influence of this trend have taken to offering extra gift cards as rewards for spending a set amount on initial gift cards. For example, a shopper who buys $100 worth of gift cards at a retailer such as Macy’s is then eligible to receive an extra $10 gift card for free. This trick of the trade no longer only takes place on Black Friday, as any small business can benefit from gift card promotions all year long.
The majority of the bad publicity surrounding Black Friday results from the clamoring for doorbuster deals. But when applied to other days of the year, doorbusters are capable of attracting additional shopper attention (just not at the hyped level of Thanksgiving weekend, however). Doorbusters have also entered into the Labor Day lexicon, serving as a great way of drawing in greater crowds for back-to-school sales. Although families are already inclined to complete their major department store shopping at the end of August, parents place attendance as an even greater priority when free gift cards and other goodies are at stake.
Cyber Monday All Year Long
Although more and more shoppers opt to drop out of Black Friday each year, their in-store frenzy has largely been replaced by the private shopping tradition of Cyber Monday. According to PFS Media, Cyber Monday sales increased by 15.7 percent from 2012 to 2013—thanks in part to hardcore promotions via social media. But the push for internet spending need not be limited to the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend. By offering standard Cyber Monday deals such as free shipping on isolated occasions throughout the year, any retailer with an online presence can vastly increase consumer interest. The key is to drive the event with the help of social media, using Facebook and Twitter to get the word out to potential internet shoppers.