Monday, November 28

Occupy Retail

Forget about left-over stuffing and mashed potatoes, these past few days have been all about shopping.  Black Friday greeted brick and mortar retailers with over 150 million shoppers and over $50billion in sales.  Although Cyber Monday is today, online retailers actually saw a 24% increase on Black Friday and a 20% increase overall during the holiday week last week.  And Saturday was the second annual Small Business Saturday which was met with great hype as well.

What's my post mortem?

Black Friday.  It's gotten stupid.  Embarrassingly stupid.  All the retailers are screaming at us in advertising to come earlier and earlier and earlier.  It's over-shadowing the holiday and the reason why we are all together on Thanksgiving.  The behavior in store in some cases is ludacris and beyond imagination.  Using pepper spray to beat out other shoppers at Walmart?  A Target employee falling asleep on the late night drive home?


Most of my friends avoided the day entirely, which is exactly what I did.  Didn't go near a store.  My friends that did partake said that the average "sale" was about 30-40% off and actually there were equally good deals before and after Black Friday.  A few of my friends did pick up flat screen televisions and were able to negotiate beyond even the published sale price.

Cyber Monday.  It's pretty smart.  Although this year, it certainly started early as the online retailers tried to steal the thunder from the brick and mortar guys (witness Amazon).  Surfing for the best deals on specific items just makes sense, if you've got the time and energy.  I'd rather do that then stand in line outside of Walmart.

Plus we can all multi-task on Facebook and Twitter!

Small Business Saturday.  My favorite, by far.  Makes you feel like you're giving back.  I've done all of my holiday shopping so far at small businesses and except for a few items that I'll buy online, that's my intention for the entire holiday season.  American Express has done an amazing job promoting it and I applaud their efforts and anyone else who supports it.  I did notice that a lot of local retailers, even the ones that take American Express, didn't know much about it.  Hard to believe since the advertising was so heavy.

It's the second year so there's lots of room for improvement!

It's been a buffet of holiday shopping, that's for sure.  Let's just remember the reason for the season!

What's your experience?  Jim

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

My new book, The Experience Effect for Small Business, comes out in a couple of weeks.  You can get an early bird discount on the pdf e-book direct from the publisher.  Just type in "ExpEffectSmallBiz" at checkout.  Click here if interested.  Thanks!


  1. The reports keep coming in! Sales were up over 15% on Black Friday, which was shocking given the projections. And Wall Street responded today! Also more reports on consumer behavior that day ... not so nice. Jim.

  2. Jim,
    I, too, hate the notion of Black Friday. I can't imagine giving up one precious moment of family time to stand in lines for 'stuff'.

    Retailers are going overboard with ads and dramatic attention getting gimmicks to reel us in.

    I enjoy getting a deal as much as the next person, but not at the expense of sacrificing family time. No 'deal' is worth that.