Black Friday strategies were once simple — open early on Friday, offer a host of good deals, reap in the profits.
But as shoppers have grown more cautious in the wake of the recession, retailers are changing their approaches, leading to Black Friday in 2012 with a number of different type of sales.
As Forbes noted, the Black Friday strategies run the gamut. At Foot Locker, the most expensive shoes will be unveiled Friday at full price. Crocs is taking the opposite approach, slashing its prices for Black Friday. And while Target is leaning on its in-store merchandise, Walmart has extended its deals to include many on its website as well.
As Forbes notes, the stakes are high for retailers:
“It’s Black Friday, a moment of truth for retailers’ holiday strategizing.
“All are hoping to avoid misfires during a crucial selling season. Last year the two-month period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s accounted for nearly a quarter of annual sales for department stores, discounters and other chains, according to the National Retail Federation.
“Anxious to preserve their sales in a hyper-competitive market, retailers are taking some chances. They face a host of pressures, including changing shopping habits due to technology and an uncertain economic climate, complicated by Washington’s decision-making gridlock and possible new tax increases.”
Perhaps the biggest Black Friday change comes in the schedule itself. Many retailers have extended the sales to Thanksgiving Day itself, leading to what many are referring to as “Black Thursday.”
The strategy, made famous by Walmart‘s decision to open on Thanksgiving evening, is an attempt to gain a larger share of holiday shoppers. As the National Retail Foundation noted, an estimated 147 million Americans will go shopping on Thanksgiving weekend, and Black Friday is the busiest of these days.