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Retailers Use Early Promotions, Social Media To Entice Black Friday shoppers

By Virginia Bridges
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

RALEIGH

Chan Namgong officially kicked off his chase of holiday customers Monday by offering 25 percent off to VIP customers at his Bevello women’s boutiques.

On Friday, Bevello, including the Cameron Village store first opened in 2009, will offer slashed prices on Tart cashmere sweaters and House of Harlow necklaces among other deals. That will be followed with other promotional sales on Saturday and Sunday.
Beginning Monday, Bevello is offering free shipping on website orders through Dec. 1.

Bevello, with 24 locations mostly in the Southeast, is among the thousands of brick-and-mortar and online retailers using early sales and other promotions to better position their products in the holiday shopping season, which traditionally started on the Friday after Thanksgiving but has since expanded into an elongated, five-day (or more) shopping spree.

“It’s all about the retailer trying to engage the consumer earlier and earlier,” said Bill Martin, founder of retail traffic analytics company ShopperTrak. Friday traditionally marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season when retailers get into the “black,” or make a profit for the year.

Black Friday is now followed by Small Business Saturday (founded in 2010 by American Express to boost sales at local retailers) and Cyber Monday (a term coined in 2005 by Shop.org, the digital retail division of National Retail Federation).

Some people call it holiday creep, but Martin said the trend is being driven by traditional and e-commerce retailers who are in a fierce battle to reach customers now accustomed to using mobile devices and online research to find the best deals first.

The number of stores opening earlier on Thursday increased again this year with Macy’s announcing in October it would open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, while Best Buy and J.C. Penney plan to open at 5 p.m.

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