Stores usher Black Friday with easier ways to get deals

Ann Santiago
November 26, 2018

These stores also opened earlier, adding even more encouragement for shoppers to show up.

So far, so good: Online shopping between Wednesday through 5 p.m. ET Thursday has totaled $4.15 billion according to Adobe Analytics data, surpassing last year's total spend for the same time period. As of early morning Friday, the Macy's flagship store in NY, which opened all night, had a steady stream of shoppers, mostly tourists.

In addition to the online deals, the Thanksgiving Day deals and the Black Friday deals, there are also deals going on throughout the weekend.

Retail experts said stores are now working toward satisfying customers on both sides of the aisle, but still ensuring customers will always walk in.

Consumers almost doubled their online orders that they picked up at stores from Wednesday to Thanksgiving, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online spending.

"Traffic is building up and in many places is on par with past year", said Craig Johnson, president of retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners, who was visiting stores in CT. Despite a robust 5.1% sales gain at stores open for at least a year and 49% digital growth, Wall Street punished Target for struggling to keep down costs.

"Consumer confidence is high and we're seeing that reflected here on Black Friday with shopping bags, increased traffic in sales", said Lisa Bisenius, general manager of Towson Town Center. Over the past 12 months, purchases at non-store retailers such as Amazon have jumped 12.1 percent as sales at traditional department stores have slumped 0.3 percent.

Online sales on Thanksgiving Day totaled a record $3.7 billion, according to data from Adobe Analytics, up 28% from a year ago, making it the fastest growing retail day in ecommerce history.

Research firm GlobalData forecasts United Kingdom spending during the Black Friday period ― which it defines as November 19 to November 26 ― will grow 3.1 per cent to £10.4 billion (RM55.9 billion). At a Cincinnati mall, Bethany Carrington scored a $29 all-in-one trimmer for her husband's nose hair needs and, for $17, "the biggest Mr. Potato Head I've ever seen".

And with Black Friday chaos comes plenty of videos - several users posted videos of scuffles over merchandise, shoppers tripping over each other while rushing through the front doors, and other violent confrontations between angry customers. Walmart announced today it would use savings from the recently revised tax law to increase their starting wage to $11-per-hour, offer some hourly employees a one-time bonus up to $1000, expand maternity and parental leave benefits and will begin to offer adoption assistance.

You're not imagining it: Black Friday is only getting bigger.

"It's just fun to be at the mall on Black Friday", said Amy Stalknecht of Alexandria. Friday morning, he frantically searched the internet and found one single robot left, at a Walmart 25 miles from his home.

"We're not run-over-people, die-hard shoppers", said Jenkins, a nurse from Lucasville, Ohio. Some shoppers also ditched the dinner table late Thursday to shop Thanksgiving sales. Marketers are starting to recognize the need to get off to a fast start, as Thanksgiving email sends increased 26% compared to previous year.

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