Shoppers are taking notice this year that “Black Friday” is becoming more of an idea than an actual day. No longer relegated to early risers, Black Friday has become more accessible in recent years to late night shoppers on Thanksgiving night, as well as online shoppers who want the deals but not the lines. This year several large retailers have announced Black Friday sales to begin even earlier on Thanksgiving evening, and many have even offered their Black Friday sales online before Thanksgiving.
How have these holiday sales trends affected mobile? The pressure to publicize sales early is intense this year, as companies are broadening their marketing strategies to include a wide variety of mobile communications in an attempt to engage as many people as possible. People who prefer to shop through their mobile device will find an app and/or customized mobile site for most of their favorite stores this year, as well as an abundance of opportunities to sign up for text alerts and coupons.
An article in Mobile Commerce Daily refers to a recent InMobi study that estimates 60 million people will shop via mobile this Thanksgiving weekend.
While Cyber Monday has been seen as the online equivalent of Black Friday, the 2011 season promises to see some blurring of the distinction; consumers shopping outside their homes are likely to use their mobile devices to research products, compare prices, find store locations, and make purchases.
Walgreens offers one example of how mobile technology will be incorporated into the onsite shopping experience. Mobile Commerce Daily reports that beginning the day after Thanksgiving, Walgreens will make mobile coupons available to smartphone owners. The coupons can be quickly and easily downloaded onto a customer’s smartphone and then scanned at the point of sale. This is likely to make the in-store shopping experience more convenient and appealing than in years past, and requires none of the printing and clipping that tends to discourage paper coupon usage. The article also reports that mobile shoppers will also be able to view the weekly ads and browse products from their smartphones, as well as sign up for promotions via text alert.
Companies that can think creatively about how to incorporate mobile into their holiday offerings have the best chance of staying competitive throughout the season.