Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Dreaded Friday the Black (Tradecraft)

A lot of what we do in our specialty retail business has little resemblance to mass market retail. Black Friday is an example of that. The term was originally coined to describe dense traffic in the downtown Philadelphia streets the day after Thanksgiving. However, we know it more for the popular folklore of retailers finally getting out of the red from flagging sales January through November, and breaking into the black (profitability).

This may have been true at one time, especially with the ascendancy of mall stores (which are now mostly sad tombs to consumerism), but for most specialty retailers, the holidays are big, but aren't critical. Our season is Summer, while the month of December is our best month, one that usually erases past or future sins (like the tax bill or the store fixture tab). Stores in college towns see a reverse pattern, but this is generally true. So what about this dreaded Black Friday?

30% of people will be done with their holiday shopping by the end of this weekend. Some will be done before Thanksgiving and the rest will be done shortly thereafter. I just finished mine, since as a retailer, I have no time for retail shenanigans, and thankfully, many Black Friday sales start the week of Thanksgiving.

So what are our options with this 30%? We can be above it all, and turn our noses up at nearly a third of American consumers, who will do all their shopping, before you can finish digesting your turkey, or we can find a way to engage.

Engaging, first of all, needs to be respectful of our employees and their families.  We're closed Thanksgiving. We've been hungry enough, desperate enough, in the past to be open Thanksgiving Day. But maybe we're just more mature now as a business. No working on Thanksgiving.

As for Black Friday, it's a wretched day to visit our store. There are two days you shouldn't come: Black Friday and the Saturday before Christmas. Our location has spectacularly good parking, except for those two days. You will be disappointed. Nevertheless, there's that 30% who very much want an excuse to visit us, or they'll visit someone else.

For them, I would first encourage them to visit us on the much less hectic Small Business Saturday. There's parking, there are fewer annoying muggles looking to kill time, and our Black Friday Sale will continue through Saturday.

Anyway, this is what we do, cater to customers, with the goods they want, at the time they want them. You have sales when people are spending money, and this is a prime example.

This is also a period where well meaning folks, usually professionals who earn a living at a desk, will preach about the evils of consumerism and encourage people not to shop. You do what ya gotta do with your bad self. We'll be here for you on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or later on at a more leisurely December pace.

Our Black Friday sales this year:

  • Buy one Get one free on all Ding+Dent
  • All Clearance and Used RPGS are Buy One, Get One free.
  • Buy a regular priced RPG Hardcover, receive a free set of Chessex dice.
  • Buy a Tactical Miniature Starter Box, receive a free set of Chessex dice.
  • Buy a Booster Box of your favorite TCG, receive a free playmat! (while supplies last)

Thanks for your support!


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