The Strategy Behind the Busiest Shopping Days of the Year

While Thanksgiving is only a few days away, most businesses have their eyes set on Black Friday and Cyber Monday – not the turkey, mashed potatoes and pie. They are prepping for the busiest shopping season of the year, and strategizing how to become victorious in-store and online.

It may seem contradictory for companies to discount their products so drastically one or two days out of the year, but it’s a phenomenon that has led to increased sales, and fantastic promotional success. According to the National Retail Federation, 69 percent of Americans plan to shop during Thanksgiving weekend this year – which is the equivalent of around 164 million shoppers. What’s more, sales are expected to increase by 3.4 percent compared to 2016. In fact, many companies will generate a third of their sales during this time, with over 30% of annual retail sales occur on Black Friday.

Black Friday has become the busiest shopping day of the year since its start in the 1950’s. As prices plummet, shoppers skyrocket. However, over the past few years,  analysts have noticed a gradual shift in Black Friday shopping. Many consumers have turned to the internet to do their spending rather than fight the hoards of people in-store.

Dubbed “Cyber Monday” in 2005, the celebratory shopping day continues going strong almost a decade later. Last year,  the day generated the  highest volume of online shoppers and a 12.1% jump in sales. Not only is Cyber Monday a great way for companies to drive increased sales, but it’s also a sound strategy to combat slow business days following the mayhem of Black Friday. The NRF and companies alike have established the holiday weekend as the best shopping weekend all year and consumers can’t seem to stay away.

Amazon has truly set the standard for  Black Friday strategy. For example, the company doesn’t limit their sales to one or two days; rather it starts Black Friday sales the Friday before the main event and calls it “Black Friday Deals Week.” Additionally, Amazon Prime members have access to deals at least 30 minutes before the general public. Amazon’s strategic move doesn’t just result in a high volume of online traffic, but usually results in an increase in sign-ups for Prime membership for the remainder of the year.

Another big name in holiday shopping is Walmart. While the retailer also starts the party a bit early, Walmart has a different strategy than Amazon. Walmart has a general sale the week leading up to Black Friday weekend, but they don’t classify this sale as part of their Black Friday discounts; however, as far as the consumer is concerned, the deals during this sale are definitely Black Friday-worthy. Walmart’s main event begins when doors open at 6:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Sales run all night and into Black Friday. This strategy draws so much business to Walmart locations all over the globe. Walmart is the place to be if consumers are looking for the classic, fight-the-crowd Black Friday shopping experience.

In short, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have created a sales extravaganza that is bar none. Businesses – large and small – continue to benefit from this shopping holiday, so much so that these two days of sales easily surpass the other 363 days of the year. How will your company take advantage of this weekend and inspire shoppers?