Retailers Employing Old and New Black Friday Promotional Strategies

Posted by Cristina Lucero, Research Associate

This year, retailers are gearing up for the holidays in ways that you’d predict—free shipping, early deals—as well as new ways—QR codes, mobile apps and augmented reality.  As Black Friday looms, we’ve highlighted some innovative, and some more common, holiday promotional strategies from retailers:

  • Many retailers are offering Black Friday deals early.  Retailers are calling this “Black November,” and it has already arrived.  For instance, Amazon has opened its Black Friday store, which features discounts through Nov. 25th (Black Friday). 
  • For the week ending Nov. 4th, 73 of Internet Retailer’s top 100 e-retailers offered some form of free shipping.  According to Internet Retailer, this is up from 65 retailers during the same week last year.  This increase in free shipping will spur a rise in overall holiday shipments.  According to the Wall Street Journal, UPS expects a 6% YoY increase in holiday shipments (120 million worldwide packages in 2011 vs. 113 million in 2010 during peak shipping week).  Likewise, FedEx—on its busiest day, Dec. 12th—expects to handle 10% more packages this year than last.  (Wall Street Journal).
  • Retailers are ensuring that shoppers know as soon as the best deals are available.  Wal-Mart, through its homepage, is encouraging shoppers to opt-in to special deal emails leading up to Black Friday. (Internet Retailer).
  • QR codes are an easy way for smartphone users to access mobile holiday content.  For instance, Sears is adorning airports, bus stops and malls with advertising that features QR codes. (Internet Retailer).
  • Augmented reality is also playing its part this holiday.  Macy’s “Believe-o-Magic” app allows smartphone shoppers to interact with holiday characters via augmented reality technology.  Users can take photos with the holiday characters to use as holiday cards that are easily sharable through social media.  (Mobile Marketer).

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