7 days and counting until one of the biggest days in retail… Black Friday. It is the one day a year that businesses slash prices and create pandemonium across the country. For my family, it has always signaled the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Being the procrastinator that I am, I usually wait until the week before Christmas to begin my massive purchasing, however, this year (since I won’t be working) I have decided to join the masses and engage in the frenzy.
Marketers spend months planning for the next 6 weeks in retail. It is the time of year that yields the largest profit. I have always wondered, why then do they offer so many discounts?
Many small boutique retailers offer gifts with purchase, which makes more sense to me from a marketing standpoint. If you purchase something then you get something for free. However, the retailers that offer deeply discounted merchandise confuse me. I suppose large conglomerates like Wal-Mart can afford to participate in these sales.
I have been working in retail for over five years and every year the company I work for provides the customers with a GPW. Once we run out, that’s all folks! It is so interesting to watch consumers line up for hours in the cold, rain, snow and sleet for a free item or a discount. Our country is obsessed with saving money, no matter how much or how little.
In Public Relations, this idea of profit is not one we focus on, however, in marketing creating an increase in revenue is of the utmost importance. It would be interesting if PR firms gave a discount on their services for Black Friday, just in case some catastrophe happened like the Wal-Mart fiasco a few years ago, when shoppers were trampled trying to buy Xbox 360s. Several retailers have had very dark Black Fridays. Another example would be Toys R’ Us. In 2008 two people were killed in a shooting in Palm Desert, California. These incidents create negative reflections on these businesses and oftentimes cause tragedy during the joyous holiday season. These incidents could easily be avoided and perhaps the marketing industry should think twice about the way in which they are marketing the sales this season.
Hopefully the PR crisis’ are over for the holiday season are minimally and people can focus on the real reason for the season, food, family and being thankful.