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Black November?

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As we sat down and enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family this past week, many of us couldn’t help but anxiously starred at the clock, waiting for that moment when we can hop into our cars and join the chaos in a nearby mall or outlet for those door buster deals that were advertised as early as Monday. Black Friday does not necessary start on the Friday after Thanksgiving anymore. It has been creeping earlier, from dawn to midnight to Thursday evening. Wal-Mart Stores have opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day at 8 p.m. this year, two hours earlier than last year. This Thursday night has already given the infamous name of Black Friday Eve.

Ironically, “Black Friday” is actually referred to a term of the market crash of September 24, 1869, which was caused by two financiers’ failed attempt to corner the gold market. Today we know Black Friday as the country’s busiest shopping day

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But the topic here is whether consumers already have enough of these long lines, and they would rather just shop in the comfort of their pajamas in their own homes. The constant development of mobile and social media as marketing channels has turned Black Friday into an endless Black November, with marketing messages and deals ranging well beyond the shopper-friendly timeline that usually began the Friday after Thanksgiving and finished on Cyber Monday.

Internet, Mobile and Social Media

As mentioned above, the development of mobile technologies like tablets and smartphones have changed consumer-shopping behavior. It has become one of the biggest methods lengthening the Black Friday period. These tools make it a lot easier for consumers to purchase when they’re on the go. Currently, many brands and retailers still have much work to do to enhance their mobile commerce channels, particularly in the smartphone area.

Major social media networks like Facebook are increasingly cognizant of consumer activity on their mobile platforms. Evidently, FB is the number one app on smartphones. This year, brands are beginning to strengthen their Facebook advertising strategies, incorporating them more fully into company-wide campaigns and ensuring those deals are consistent across all channels.

But is this a right thing to do? Especially since consumers are overwhelmed by brand messaging across all channels during the Black Friday period.

Unique Selling Propositions 

It’s the term that we hear over and over again in this field. Black Friday is not the time for marketers to start worrying about acquiring new customers, The effort around encouraging customer loyalty needed to begin earlier, and it is definitely no later than September or October. Marketing messages around Black Friday are mostly tactical, including listing the type of deals offered, store hours, and locations. The fight is won well way before the holiday season arrives. It becomes tempting to look at the holidays as a standalone entity where there’s no history, but there’s always history. Brands need to come into the holiday season having already done good research, and then offer good deals that are comparable to what their competitors are offering.

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