I read an article Sunday morning at Business Insider entitled “Things Most Black Friday Shoppers Don’t Know.” You can read it here. Even for a seasoned retail employee who’s seen her share of Black Fridays, the wife of a retail worker who had to get up early after Thanksgiving at the beach so her husband could get to work on Black Friday, and an indie manufacturer and business owner, there was some new and interesting – but common sense – facts here.
In this two-part series, we’re going to look at the realities of retail and how my indie business is different – and better.
- BI: “The mall doesn’t open before the anchor stores do.” Those big stores – Macy’s, Belk’s, and Dillard’s – determine what time the mall opens, and there are huge fines for not being open when they open. (Some stores bite that fine, and some malls allow retailers to choose for themselves.)
CCS: On Black Friday, all that weekend, and Cyber Monday, we’re here for you. We may have limitations on our availability (e.g., Sunday morning during church and most times when we’re driving), but for the most part, we’ll be free to answer questions for you. You don’t have to fight screamin’ hordes of shoppers to get to us.
2. BI: “Black Friday sales are usually on older models and are often the same deal as last year.”
CCS: Our prices are our prices all year and our merchandise is made in small batches to ensure freshness. Small, indie retailers can’t compete with discounted stuff made in overseas sweatshops, so we aren’t going to try. Our products are worth the price, and when’s the last time you saw a sweat shop slave do a happy dance because you bought that TV?
3. BI: “These products would probably have gone on sale, anyway.”
CCS: We save our clearance sale prices for our annual clearance sale.
4. BI: “You rarely ever need to be there when the stores open – the sales last all day.” The reason for getting there uber-early is to ensure you get your preferred sizes.
CCS: One soap fits all sizes, and our sales also will last throughout the weekend. We’re not so big into early bird promos.
5. BI: “In fact, most (sales) start before Black Friday.”
CCS: We will be running a special free shipping promotion, but it won’t begin until Black Friday. It will last all weekend, though, and on into Cyber Monday.
6. BI: “Stores will use all sorts of tricks to get you to spend more.” I saw this the last time I worked mall retail.
CCS: No tricks, though we will suggest add-ons to your purchases, especially for gifts. The reason is simple: When I’m selling in person, my wares are spread out before you, and you can see what goes with what (like Orange Blossom soap and Orange Blossom & Amber Creme, or Christmas Candy Soaps with our Christmas Candies Lip Balms). You don’t have that online, so we will help point you to those complementary items.
Come back tomorrow as we look at the other half of this list. Do any of these retail tricks surprise you? Are there others you’d add from your own experiences?