Published on December 7, 2023, 6:28 p.m.
by Carsyn Smiling.
The holiday season is rich with countless traditions. The day after Thanksgiving, better known as Black Friday, is no exception. Black Friday has been a United States shopping phenomenon for decades, but shoppers are learning not all traditions are timeless.
Named after its lasting effect on taking businesses out of the “red” and into profits for the year, Black Friday has been no stranger to changes over the years as shopping has evolved from brick-and-mortar and catalog shopping to a combination of cyber and in-person shopping methods.
Black Friday is even credited for the introduction of other major shopping events such as Cyber Monday, which takes place the Monday following Black Friday and encourages retailers to offer heavy discounts strictly online.
However, some people miss the magic that was once associated with the holiday. Others fear Black Friday has lost its sense of urgency because many businesses have extended sales offers to an entire week or an entire month, with some even offering better deals online than in store. Long gone are the days of Black Friday brawls and overnight stays to find a good deal.
Whether a business chooses an online or in-person strategy, public relations is always needed.
Doorbuster or bust
It’s 2010, 4 a.m., and you’re heading to your local mall to get in line to buy the hottest item on the market, a first generation iPad, an iconic American Girl doll or a flat screen TV. This type of scenario has been a universal experience for Black Friday shoppers in past years. However, many didn’t encounter this experience in 2023, as many storefronts were ghost towns since people opted to skip the lines and partake in the shopping festivities online for a hassle-free experience.
In 2023, online shopping on Black Friday totaled up to $9.8 billion in sales, crushing records both online and in-person in comparison to other years.
While this record shows promise for our economy, public relations practitioners have to think about the unforeseen consequences of taking Black Friday deals behind a screen. One of these consequences could be a lack of audience feedback. It is important for practitioners to connect the target audience with the brand.
Many customers have taken to different social media platforms to publicly display their thoughts on how Black Friday has taken a turn for the worst. One user commented on a Tiktok saying, “Old Black Friday was fun. The chaos was unmatched.” Another upset user wrote, “I found one where the regular price was lower [than the] black Friday deal.”
Companies can use such information to their advantage. These platforms allow companies to get thoughts from customers in real time by using social media monitoring. This information can help ensure that companies are delivering more for their customers and maintaining positive consumer relationships.
In such an overly competitive atmosphere, relationship building is essential for businesses ahead of Black Friday. According to Annex Cloud, 81% of customers make purchasing decisions based on their prior trust and experience with the brand.
With most shopping moving online, digital PR is a must. Businesses should finalize their press releases, key messages and offers with plenty of time in advance.
Businesses can’t afford to miss out on consumer spending during the holiday season, and PR practitioners are on the forefront of whether or not Black Friday is a success.