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When and Why Did Black Friday Gobble Up Thanksgiving?

black friday has taken over thanksgiving

Remember when Thanksgiving and Black Friday were their own separate things? You know, before Black Friday bled into Thanksgiving Thursday?

These two days used to synergize so well.

Here’s how things would go:

  • 9am-4pm: Shove that 20lb turkey in the oven; get side dishes and dessert prepared.
  • 5pm: Sit down to dinner with the family.
  • 6:30pm: Trudge your bloated self to the living room to watch a little football. (That second piece of pumpkin pie? Not your best idea.)
  • 7:30pm: Get annoyed when Uncle Bob starts talking politics after one too many beers.
  • 8pm: Kick Uncle Bob out.
  • 8:30: Clean up.
  • 10pm: Go to bed to get plenty of rest for the 5am store opening times on Black Friday.

But over the past few years, this timeline has changed for some families.

Black Friday slowly started creeping backward, truncating Thanksgiving Day family festivities.

5am Friday openings became 2am Friday openings. Then 12am Friday openings. Then 10pm THURSDAY openings.

Today, many brick-and-mortar retailers open as early as 6pm on Thanksgiving Day. Some even earlier than that.

You can almost feel one of the only family-oriented holidays left being slowly killed by commercialism.

If you’re upset about that, I’ve got news for you: retailers don’t care. And when I look at it from a business perspective, I can’t say I blame them.

Don’t get me wrong…

I LOVE spending time with my family on Thanksgiving. I LOVE watching the Dallas Cowboys with my sons every year. And camping in front of Best Buy for hours, days, or weeks to get deal on a TV is not my thing. But I also understand that companies like Best Buy now need to take drastic action to stay afloat.

Consider this: Nine brick-and-mortar retailers have filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

These are big names, too, like Sears, Macy’s, and J.C. Penny. The places you’ve shopped at for decades.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s sales have shot from $16 billion to $80 billion since 2010.

To stay competitive, brick-and-mortar stores have had to get cutthroat. And that means carving time out of Turkey Day.

Though in-store sales are slumping, Thanksgiving is now a HUGE day for stores. In 2015, 35 million people went out and shopped on Thanksgiving, resulting in billions of dollars in sales.

In addition, data shows 70% of consumer spending happens at the first two stores people visit on Thanksgiving/Black Friday.

So you can see why Thanksgiving is too important for brick-and-mortar retailers NOT to be open on.

These companies don’t care if some people think they are ruining the one day a year meant for family bonding. Those aren’t the people these businesses are targeting.

The ones they ARE targeting are those who don’t mind hitting up some stores for some deals after chowing down on some pumpkin pie and watching a little pigskin.

This strategy of “exclusion” is smart marketing. And it’s a tactic contractors should copy.

exclusion marketing

Focus on YOUR market.

Don’t worry about the rest.

 

Don’t worry about alienating people who wouldn’t buy from you anyway. You’ll never get their business, so who cares?

Instead, focus your marketing on YOUR customer demographic. Be specific about who you are, what you do, who you work for, and who you DON’T.

You can do this in a number of ways. Here are a few examples:

  1. Be up-front about having higher prices (and therefore higher quality). You’ll filter out the price shoppers, while landing the high-end affluent clients you want.
  2. Admit you may not be the fastest (but only because you take the time to do everything perfectly). You won’t have to worry about taking calls from homeowners who want a project done yesterday.
  3. If you do have lower prices, shout it from the rooftops. Spirit Airlines markets itself as a low-cost airline to attract clientele that doesn’t care about pretentious extras and “flying fancy.” If you do this, though, make sure you detail WHY you have lower prices. Do you keep your overhead low? Do you buy directly from the manufacturer? If so, say so. You want people to know that your prices are lower because you’re smart… not because you sacrifice quality.
  4. Make it abundantly clear that ALL you do is kitchen remodeling… or windows… or commercial roofing… or contractor marketing (wink, wink). You won’t have to waste time talking to people who want what you don’t offer.

Something to chew on before today’s Big Dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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