When shoppers prepare for the binge event that is Black Friday, sales are on their minds. How the shopping frenzy that takes place today came to be, or where the name comes from, is not as important as saving money on a new television, the latest fashion trend or a must-have mobile phone.
The day after American Thanksgiving has long been an unofficial shopping holiday in the United States, a fact that is not lost on Canadian businesses and consumers, even though both only warmed up to the idea in the last decade. The event south of the border has been a mainstay for nearly 70 years.
“Black Friday” apparently was coined in Philadelphia in the early 1980s, three decades after the fourth Friday in November became an annual day for American consumers to visit stores while on a mission to save money. The moniker came in response to an increase in traffic caused by shoppers seeking deals. The extra vehicles caused mayhem on the streets; the extra shoppers caused mayhem inside some stores.
How much a consumer can save on a certain item is far more important to them than how long it takes to acquire it. It is all about the deal, or rush, involved with saving money or being one of the first to try out new technology, toys, or designer items. Waiting in line or beating a fellow shopper over the head with a Cabbage Patch Kid just comes with the territory.
Boxing Day still ranks ahead of the November shopping event for many Canadians, but Black Friday has become a successful marketing tool for some businesses and a “can’t miss” event for many shoppers. Local flyers and advertising leading up to today point to that fact. Some shoppers research, plan and save for months to ensure opportunities do not slip by.
In the past, November 24 was considered a day when businesses began to turn a profit for the year. While that may still be true, marketing and attracting customers, and keeping them coming back, has become especially important for participating brick and mortar businesses competing with online retailers.
The art of the sale is constantly evolving, with businesses using every tool they have to get information about products to consumers, whether in print or digitally.
For shoppers, the learning curve grows every year. Businesses have ever-increasing options to reach them, but it is up to customers to seek out the best deal. That can involve filtering out the constant barrage of information, or waiting in line all night before a certain store with that certain something opens for business.