Venturing out into the cold dark world of post-Thanksgiving, Black Friday may prove to be a test of not only a consumer’s survival skills, but a further test of how resilient one may be to the consumer based economy of the American way.
Assistant professor of consumer sciences, Meghan Norris, says a typical technique retailers will use on the approaching crowd of people is social proof.
“Even if the sale prices are not great, retailers still set up roped off lines at the entryway setting an expectation that there will be long lines,” Norris said. “Once that line starts to fill up, shoppers see other shoppers lined up and jump in line along with their fellow shoppers. We may not be sure if prices are good, but if everyone else is lining up and grabbing (a) product, we’re likely to do the same”
The effect online shopping has on Black Friday has also become a consideration to consumers, bringing up many lurking variables as to why shoppers take part in both.
“People shop on Black Friday for a number of reasons, and not all are related to actual purchases,” Norris says. “Black Friday is a fun and social event for many consumers and can signal a festive start to the holiday season.”
“In that sense, online retailers have a tough job competing with brick-and-mortar stores. However, if a consumer has a goal of getting the best price they are more likely to check online to maximize savings, which could hurt local stores who are unable to offer the mega-discounts.”
When looking at the effect of the holiday kickoffs, it can seem to be an overwhelming experience. Fortunately, small businesses tend to avoid the advertising techniques used to bring forth an urge for shopping, and rather turn to social media.
Meghan Lynch-Woodman, manager of Collette located in downtown West Lafayette, says they have not started advertising for their Black Friday sales quite yet.
“We will be looking into social media sites such a Twitter and Facebook,” Lynch-Woodman said.
They will be opening at the more conventional time of 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday. Lynch-Woodman figures many residents around during Thanksgiving break will visit larger stores opening earlier and then be able to stop by their boutique.
Collette will also be offering local goods, such as Amber oils made in Indiana, as well as newspaper wallets made in Paw Paw, Mich.
“Whether Black Friday is purposeful or not really depends on the goal of the consumer.” Norris said.
So whether you’re looking for the new handheld device of your dreams, that sweater you could’ve stolen from your mother’s closet or simply trying to survive the shop-a-thon, may Black Friday satisfy your material needs.