Tuesday, 2 December 2014

USA & Black Friday - Possible Implications for Australia’s Boxing Day?

So, I made it home just in time for Thursday’s Thanksgiving dinner through all the snow in the North East of the United States. This means that I also was just in time for Black Friday shopping! Traditionally, dinner on Thursday is early in the afternoon, so you can digest and bundle up for the long wait ahead of you to get the early Friday morning shopping specials. Black Friday really marks the beginning of the American holiday shopping trend. Everything is on sale, and I mean, everything! From what I’m told, this is an event very comparable to Australia’s Boxing Day, except it’s meant to kick start the retail and consumerism economy going into the New Year. Many people are aware that the sales encourage our American instincts of materialism, but choose to ignore it when that massive plasma screen TV you’ve been dying to have for your freshly renovated living room is only $99.00 USD.

All that being said, our biggest stores are at least trying to make the shopping experience more safe and less of a hassle. Take Walmart for example. They have implemented a pre-planning system through their iPhone/iPad application. By having users pre-plan their shopping route, helping them locate only the items they need or want in conjunction with their Black Friday specific shopping flyer that indicates all the specials, as well as giving them the opportunity to customise the experience to their local store, they were able to alleviate a good amount of lines and other safety hazards. It seems like marketing gold: one store, any item you can think of, tons of sales, easy to find, well marked, technologically savvy, and of course, lots of parking.

(Source: WTSP.com)

Although Walmart was very strategic in integrating their technology with a shopping design that makes shoppers think Walmart has their best interests in mind (“way$ 2 $ave” - the campaign slogan), there are still other ways to come out on top during the mass shopping event. You can also get lucky enough that your competitors didn’t treat Black Friday like the major release date it should be. Here is where Apple found success - repositioning their competitors. Because of their recent release of the iPhone 6 and 6+, in addition to their new iPad Air 2’s, they were the technology favourites for the night. According to news reports (Source: The Street), Samsung and Google just weren’t on their game with innovation releases for all the eager spenders.


So, Australia…what will Boxing Day look like this year? Will we be seeing any maps integrated with sale information as well as specific item location? Will we see lines out the door and media coverage of all the jolly holiday people? Whatever the case is, watch out for those sneaky sales that look too good to be true, and make sure you stock up on all your holiday gifts for next year!

Christine Drpich
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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