Sadie Keljikian, Stern Corporate Services Group

The annual Black Friday human-traffic jam is on the decline and stores aren’t devoting their efforts to drawing shoppers to their physical stores.

Numerous sources report that Black Friday sales are changing to suit the newly (and increasingly) online-oriented market. Most retailers aren’t stressing physical presence in-store any more, instead focusing on week-long sales online. This means that not only are customers less compelled to rush off to the mall at 2am on Friday, but they are free to shop whatever time or day they choose, which is obviously one of the primary perks of ecommerce, particularly given the recent, ongoing increase in mobile device-based shopping.

Obviously, ecommerce high-earners like Amazon are fully prepared to take optimal advantage of the shift to online shopping, but brick and mortar retailers are adapting quite successfully as well. Walmart seems to be particularly flexible and adept at not only fitting into increasingly the ecommerce-driven market, but creating its own niche in general. Black Friday deals start on Walmart’s website at 12:01 am on Thanksgiving and the mega-store promises “bottomless” availability of their range of products, taking the pressure off of customers to get there first. Best Buy and Target are also taking an ecommerce-friendly approach, the former offering same-day delivery in 40 cities nationwide.

To be clear, shoppers will still line up outside stores early Friday morning, but it will be more for tradition’s sake than the frantic mob we’ve seen in previous years. Experts claim, however, that this may be one of the last years we see much in-store activity at all on Black Friday.

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