What’s the Deal With Black Friday Deals?
By: Scott Offord
Shoppers around the country gear up annually to find the best Black Friday deals. They prepare for the event on a scale comparable to an athlete training for a race, scanning Black Friday ads and e-mail promotions from Best Buy, WalMart, Target and Amazon. Many save time and get a leg up on the shopping competition by visiting http://www.
Of course, retailers are as revved-up as their understandably eager customers. Hoping to garner a large share of sought-after retail traffic on the day after Thanksgiving, they work like mad to offer just the right discounts, sales and specials to lure customers seeking the best prices on popular items.Price-matching is one major tactic employed by these uber-retailers. With so many competitors vying for Black Friday 2012 dollars, each company must keep an eagle eye on the competition. Promising to match another store’s price is a great way to keep consumers from lining up with other shoppers to snag the lowest-priced Black Friday deals.
This fierce form of retail combat may be affected by a phenomenon never before seen — a threat by WalMart workers to strike during Black Friday 2012. In an era during which average folks feel empowered to fight for their rights, many a WalMart employee has chosen to threaten the mega-chain with work stoppages during this crucial time of year.
Workers are protesting over working conditions, meager hours, unpredictable schedules, overtime abuses, backlash over management complaints and worse-than-average wages in an already low-paying industry. Minor employee victories have already been reported, but time will tell how much the protests will impact both working conditions and the discount chain’s Black Friday 2012 sales.
Regardless of the results employee protesting might bring about for the massive retailer, competitor Target plans to be prepared for Black Friday craziness this year. In a bid to level the playing field against huge retailers like Amazon, the popular discount store will implement price-matching Black Friday deals from Walmart.com, Amazon.com, Toysrus.com, Bestbuy.com and babiesrus.com.
Best Buy will also participate in price-matching beginning on November 4th, and will offer free shipping on online items not available in-store. Restrictions apply, however, and Best Buy will not match prices during the crucial shopping days of Black Friday through Black Monday. Amazon is one of a limited number of retailers on its price-match list.
Does this new pricing strategy by Target and Best Buy signal the beginning of a war between brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers? With so many big-box stores’ online presences pulling out all the stops to garner Black Friday sales, it’s no surprise that physical stores need to employ new tactics to draw shoppers out of their pajamas and into long lines of fellow bargain-hunters at pre-dawn hours.
Amid such stiff competition, it may seem surprising that any retailer would opt out of the Black Friday craziness. However, the city of Wrentham, Massachusetts is considering refusing to grant a permit for Midnight Madness sales at the town’s popular Wrentham Village Premium Outlets.
The popular outlet mall, which offers discounts on wares by Salvatore Ferragamo, Michael Kors, Burberry and other upscale brands and designers, attracts bargain-hungry shoppers from around the country. Lt. William McGrath of the Wrentham Police Department theorizes that the outlet’s late-night hours pose a security threat.
The perceived danger doesn’t come from the kind of shopping horde stampedes that caused a death at a WalMart in Long Island, New York last year. Lt. McGrath claims the shopping destination’s Black Friday schedule could make Wrentham appealing to terrorists. The mall was offered a chance to stay open on Friday during odd hours if it complied with a request to beef up security by footing the bill for 50 video cameras on the premises. The shopping facility will agree to install 10 cameras if the town pays for maintenance of the equipment.
Regardless of the effect these national news events might have on various retailers’ Black Friday numbers, shoppers definitely have an advantage. Stores are involved in a feeding frenzy, and consumers will reap the benefits of specials, sales and steep discounts. Even those not aware of the sneak previews available at http://www.