People would associate Black Friday with madness, lines, and amazing deals.In the 1990s, the news would be flooded with people stampeding through stores and suddenly the stampede scene from the Lion King comes to mind. As years have passed and the internet has grown, people are camping out less and brick & mortar stores are slowly closing and many people would say that Black Friday has lost its luster.
Black Friday is no longer like that per say, but it’s taken on a new form with more people opting to sleep in and shop online.
More people are shopping online this year than ever before with online sales expected to increase by 16.4% compared to last year. Most retailers, like Amazon, have been offering deals since November 1st and, for Black Friday, most retailers have had their sales available online way before their physical stores had opened. With more retailers filing bankruptcy in the last year, most people would say that brick & mortar stores are no longer relevant since everything can be purchased online. While this does not necessarily mean the end of brick & mortar stores, it does give somewhat of a wakeup call to retailers that don’t have strong online channels.
A lot of retailers still treat their online stores and physical stores as separate channels. With the internet going nowhere anytime soon, companies need to treat both channels as one. They can do so by offering the same deals and prices, allowing in-store returns and pickups, and accepting coupons received physically or digitally online and in-stores will change the brick & mortar’s place in the digital world. They need to also invest in promotion in-store and online deals via social media. With catered Facebook advertising, they can bring more people into the store by offering either in-store exclusive deals or by promotion an online deal, but you have the option to pickup and return the item to the store. Allowing in-store pickups and returns will drive traffic and maybe could result in a purchase since the customer is already present in the store.
This year, Black Friday has proven that retailers need to create multiple touch points through the digital process if they want their brick & mortar stores to stay relevant. With the right omni-channel strategy, they can continue to drive customers into their stores.