The question of whether Black Friday is still a thing is moot at this point. There will always be shoppers who enjoy the experience of running through a department store door at 6 am because that’s what Black Friday is about. The experience.
But any hang wringing on whether employees should work on Thanksgiving or how Black Friday’s sales results will be affected by early sales comes down to one thing. It’s still business.
Amazon has already started its Black Friday sales, and now comes word that JC Penney and Kohl’s are starting sales early too. Both retailers will open on Thanksgiving in an attempt to get a head start. They are just two of the multitudes of retailers who are hoping to make their years during this holiday season.
There are a couple of things to note here. Some are congratulating retailers for letting their employees have Thanksgiving off. That wasn’t done out of kindness. They’d be open too if Thanksgiving Day sales were successful for those retailers. It’s still business.
Black Friday is just a band-aid for retailers.
The early promotions will dilute Black Friday, but it doesn’t really matter. The revenue still goes into the same pot, so it doesn’t matter which day it falls on. Black Friday isn’t really about the sales. It’s about the experience for some shoppers.
Recently, I got into a minor Twitter spat with a retail organization over the importance of the holiday season to retailers. True, most retailers see 50% of their revenue from it so, as the organization reported, a good holiday season means a good year.
But it’s that kind of short-minded thinking that has put many retailers on the edge of irrelevancy and, in some cases, extinction. They are only looking ahead to the next quarter, not building any long-lasting preference that would keep them viable.
The retail industry has so many problems that it’s best for them to check out solutions here and here. As for starting Black Friday early, I say go ahead. You should gobble as much revenue as you can. Reality will set in once the holiday season is over and the lack of preference will continue to haunt.