thinking like a customer

thinking like a customer

Black Friday Revisited

By on December 7, 2011

The day after Thanksgiving in the United States kicks off the holiday shopping season. Merchants, of course, appeal to customers with outrageous sales of items in limited stock, in order to create a frenzy of early shopping and excitement. It has been called Black Friday and it is a terrible treatment of customers. Why?

  1. It is supplier-centric. The only goal is product sales at any cost.
  2. It is manipulative. It attempts to lure customers into stores with a bait-and-switch scheme.
  3. It has no recognition of whether the customers receiving the so-called bargains have every shopped at their stores before or intend to shop there in the future.
  4. It presents a deceptive view of value. Lowering costs on a small number of items does not deliver real value.
  5. It says, "Attack our store, we don’t have to answer questions, and when you want to pay us, we will take your money at the cash register."
  6. It is copy-cat. Companies participate primarily because others are involved. It is a desperate attempt not to outperform, but simply to stay even with the competition.

Shoppers_lrgThe term Black Friday is now accepted as the day in which retailers turn a profit on the year or “go into the black.” However, the origins of the term range from descriptions of the shopping rush and resulting traffic jams to a reference to worker absenteeism on this day from as early as the 1950’s. There is almost nothing appealing about the process. It has no regard for the welfare of company employees who are forced to work ridiculous hours and, of course, if some cases, it results in violence of shoppers against one another. This day represents the lowest point of the year for companies in forgetting their customers and resorting to gimmicks based on selling more products.

Black Friday techniques are built on short-term tactics that primarily benefit the seller. A customer-centered mindset thinks differently. It focuses on long-term connections that are grounded in making customers more successful and more committed to maintaining a strong relationship with their suppliers.


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