For Retailers, Black Friday is Not a Shopping Day but a Shopping Season

Over the past several holiday seasons retailers may have rung in less-than impressive sales but this year they are determined to turn things around.  In fact, the National Retail Federation projects that 138 million shoppers are expected to hit stores Black Friday weekend, representing an increase over 2009 estimates. Further, retailers are making the most of this as a ‘shopping event,’ asking themselves why just a single day of Black Friday deals, when a full season of ‘Black November’ offers may be just what this economy needs…

With most consumers still feeling the crunch of the recent economic downturn, many of us really are eager for a bargain, or two, or many, many more.  People are using credit less, paying cash and looking for discounts wherever possible; many retailers are smart to up the ante with earlier sales and many more deals that are expected to extend right up to Christmas day.  This elongated shopping cycle gives consumers the means to make responsible purchases, with the added bonus of boosting retail profits for Q4.  

Some marketers have initially reasoned that this could dilute the power of the day itself; others see it an opportunity to capitalize on shoppers’ ability to making decisions, shopping lists and even purchases in a much more relaxed, comfortable atmosphere than a single frantic Friday or long pre-holiday weekend.  NRF stats from last year prove that 40 percent of shoppers started holiday shopping before Halloween, much less November.  The trick for retailers is to capture a shopper’s attention early in their holiday gift planning phase, and capitalize on their extended decision-making process.

Front door marketing strategies are uniquely applicable in this environment, delivering a highly targeted brand offer in the uncluttered, private environment of the front door. Brands are reaching their best customers early on the path to purchase and making the most of their ability to evaluate and respond to competitive brand offers.  Offers made here are typically very high-value, with brands recognizing this as a requirement to be invited into a consumer’s home.

If Black Friday is now Black November, don’t you want your best – and perhaps most elusive – customers to have the chance to see, touch and share your offer around the house before the big shopping day arrives?

High Q2 Coupon Redemption Reflects Price-Conscious Consumer Trend

Via CPGMatters:

CPGMatters’ August 2010 issue contains coupon redemption information for the second quarter of 2010. So far, Q2 marks the seventh consecutive quarter of growing coupon redemption.

Key findings include:

  • Overall, redemption has increased 6% during the first half of 2010
  • Average coupon value hovers around $1.59 during the first half of the year
  • Marketers have offered 18 billion CPG coupons so far this year, up 11.4% from 2009
  • Among retailers, the largest increase in redemption value has been in convenience stores, warehouse clubs, and discount variety stores (as a whole, 36.6% increase)

The high coupon redemption trend echoes consumer sentiments from a July study published in Brandweek.  81 percent of the surveyed agree that “It’s fun to see how much money I can save by using coupons or my shopper loyalty card.”  And based on the chart at right, 61% are more price conscious now than they were a year ago.

“People who share such sentiments likely aren’t longing to return to freer-spending ways once an economic recovery signals that it’s safe to do so. That’s surely true of the 44 percent who agreed that “I can’t believe how wasteful I used to be when I shopped.” The chart indicates some shifts in consumers’ approach to purchasing.”

These new behaviors are determining what will be the new “normal” in consumer purchasing.  With the end of the back-to-school shopping season drawing near, and the winter and holiday shopping season approaching, are your marketing campaigns addressing the shift in consumer purchasing behavior?