Why Shop Small Saturday (the Antithesis of Black Friday) is Important… and Why Black Friday Really Isn’t a Thing Anymore…
Let’s get one thing straight: Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are both successful marketing concepts. And like all successful marketing concepts these shopping days represent the values the day.
The day after Thanksgiving has marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season since 1952. This came about because many non-retail and non-restaurant employees have the day off and take advantage of that precious "me" time to get their holiday shopping checked off the to do list. Retailers respond by opening their doors early, staying open late, and offering one day sales. The plays the tune of a consumer's Pied Piper with spectacular stories of people trampled, shopping fist fights, and limited stock that warrants tackling strangers.
The first appearance of the term “Black Friday” appeared in a Philadelphia newspaper in 1961 when a journalist used the invented phrase to paint a picture of the increased pedestrian and vehicle traffic on the the day after Thanksgiving. Only later did retailers begin defining it as the first day of the year that their business are “in the black” or making a profit, rather than “in the red” - performing at a loss.
Black Friday throw downs and mass hysteria reached a fever pitch in 2005 and 2006 with record breaking profits for big box stores. But it was also a breaking point. The point at which the yang turns back to yin, the last pebble that collapses a pile of mounting frustrations, the proverbial straw that broke said back of a certain desert mammal, the last hooray before... Anyway, you get the point. Just a few years later the economy took a downturn and like a Greek chorus retailers chanted “tragedy hath befallen my fair city.”
The recession years were a struggle, but money and opportunity are on the rise again. So, why are big box stores still not seeing the profits they had become accustomed to prior to 2008? Here’s a hint: it’s not the economy.
The free flow of information - social media, search engines, blogs, user uploaded video - reached the height of its influence around 2009 (many may argue earlier) and it has caused a revolution in shopping. Consumers are smarter and more demanding than they ever have been before. Also, a new generation of shoppers has entered the job market. These shoppers have different priorities. It's not just about the house in the suburbs and the secure paycheck. They want experience, stories, shopping with a conscious, high quality, and locally made. Good for them we say!
While the big box stores still dominate the electronics market, for all other gifting needs the battle cry is go local or go home. American Express picked up on this with their sponsored Small Business Saturday, reclaimed by the public as Shop Small Saturday. Yes, it’s a marketing scheme, but it’s also a response to the zeitgeist.
#Giftlocal this holiday season. Visit 5-0-Lou on Friday, November 24th with the Black Friday Trolley Hop on Frankfort Avenue. We'll be serving refreshments and treats and local artist Henry Gentry will be present drawing caricatures. Stop by on Saturday, November 25th for Shop Small Saturday and spend over $25, get a free 5-0-Lou ornament.