Retailers are hustling to pull revenue forward this year - it is a race to the wallet and it is ramping up.
Expect to see the term "Black Friday" much earlier this year, led by Kmart's launch of the holiday shopping extravaganza this past weekend. In 2007, retailers stretched Black Friday a few days forward into the prior week, but this year we will see almost a month long Black Friday sales campaign across retailers from all industries. Kmart launched their event on November 2 - a full 26 days before the actual "Black Friday" on November 28. More retailers will be falling in line shortly.
Potential downsides will include consumer fatigue around holiday spending. Look for the retailers marketing to ratchet up the volume as each of them try to be heard in an increasingly strained consumer environment. Retailers' margin and inventory pressures will manifest a whole host of buyer focused incentives and promotions:
- "An Ode to Consumerism" - BestBuy is giving away $1,000 shopping sprees and Black Friday limo rides to the store to 25 customers in select markets who in 250 words or less can attest to the family aspect to post-Thanksgiving shopping. Winners will receive:
- A limo ride to and from Best Buy on the morning after Thanksgiving
- On-site pampering and prizes for the winner and three guests
- Early admittance into the store at 4:30 a.m. – a half hour before anyone else!
- The ability to purchase up to four Black Friday doorbusters
All the details can be found here.
- Free Shipping - Expect to see Free Shipping like it is nobody's business. Kmart already has the whole store on Free Shipping today excluding TVs, Furniture and Computers.
- Alternative Payment Methods - Store branded credit cards, PayPal, BillMeLater and Google Checkout have run threshold based dollar off promotions for the last two years running. Expect more of the same this year only with more aggressive offers as they look to expand market share. BestBuy already is running no interest for 18 months on all purchases storewide over $499.
Expect huge creativity from all the retailers this year as they look to online to pull them through what is shaping up to be a soft selling season.