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TechBytes: Tips to drive post-Black Friday sales


Confession: I’ve long been a self-proclaimed anti-Black Friday shopper. But when Target’s “Early Access Black Friday” email hit my inbox first thing Wednesday morning, Nov. 23, I went over to the dark side.

We’ve been planning to surprise our older daughter, Daniella, with an iPad Mini on Christmas morning. When Target promoted a wireless 32GB for $199.97, I was beyond excited. All ready to order it online, I quickly realized it was only available in-store. I wasn’t thrilled with an added chore on Thanksgiving Eve, but a deal’s a deal. A 15-minute drive, and a 20-minute store visit later, it now waits to be unwrapped on Christmas morning.

While I was thrilled with the sale, the experience only made me ponder the relevance of Black Friday “proper.”

Clearly, the historically “larger than life” weekend-long shopping event has morphed into an ongoing marathon of deep mass discounts that start right after Halloween and last until Dec. 24. And each discount erodes the value and allure of Black Friday bit by bit.

Shoppers skip Black Friday waiting for better deals — and chances are they will find them. But with 26 shopping days left until Christmas Eve, retailers still have plenty of opportunity to grab wallet share from post-Black Friday shoppers. But they have to stand out from the crowd. The best way to do that is by adding extra value. Here are three suggestions for doing just that:

Personalization.Shoppers want to feel special — especially during the holidays. Drive this feeling through personalization. Whether it is a targeted email, a deal that’s only available to mobile app users, or the opportunity to redeem rewards earned during a previous purchase, shoppers that feel valued will spend. What’s in it for retailers? Shopper loyalty that lasts well beyond the holidays.

Channel-wide deals.There is nothing more frustrating than being ready to pull the trigger online, only to learn that inventory is exclusively available in-store. And it is about time that retailers are noticing. Consider Target. While the chain had “exclusive deals” for Black Friday, it was a completely different story leading up to Cyber Monday, when it launched a 15% off promotion site- and store-wide from Nov. 27 to Nov. 28.

Keep it Simple.Don’t make shoppers print coupons, use loyalty cards, or do cartwheels in the aisle to earn discounts. Ensure that systems are equipped to process promotional codes and bar codes from mobile phones, or look up accounts via shopper names or telephone numbers. Driving a seamless experience — not alienating shoppers unnecessarily — will sustain holiday sales.

It’s doubtful I will ever be a loyal Black Friday shopper. But if retailers follow these helpful hints, many holiday shoppers — including me — could be motivated to get their shopping done much earlier in the holiday shopping season.

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