Are Earlier Hours On Black Friday Creating More Competition For Small Businesses?

It’s no secret that Black Friday is starting earlier and earlier each year. Stores have been expanding their hours in order to get ahead of the competition, but the kickoff seems to be getting closer and closer to right after shoppers finish Thanksgiving dinner. Many small businesses are considering how they can capitalize on holiday shopping trends, whether they do their business online or in a brick and mortar store.

Some of the big box stores that will be upping their ante by opening earlier include Target, Wal-Mart and Sears. Target Corp. will open its doors at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, while Wal-Mart and Sears will be opening as early as 8 p.m. Despite this, many small businesses owners report that they are not concerned about the competition the earlier hours present because they provide specialized products and personalized customer service that you just can’t find in a big box store.

So what are small business owners doing to create a competitive advantage? Most of them will be putting their efforts towards promoting Small Business Saturday® which is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses nationwide. Of course, some small businesses that do the majority of their business online have to find a creative way to gain attention as well. Many business owners have found that you can certainly generate more profits by providing special offers in order to capture the interest of holiday shoppers.

Another huge advantage of offering discounts and special deals is that some of the biggest chains actually aren’t reducing their prices nearly as much as they might lead you to believe. A study done last year by Upstream Commerce shows that there is not any consistent pricing strategy among big box retailers Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Amazon.com during the “special sales” period following Thanksgiving. In the TV category and Toys and Games category, online retailer Amazon.com showed the most discounts for Black Friday, however actually raised their prices for Cyber Monday. Experts report that there is no reason that small business cannot offer customers better deals than the large national chains.

References:

Small Business Editor “Retailers Push Back Holiday Sales Into Thanksgiving” 11/14/12

Associated Press “Target has earlier start for holiday kickoff” 11/12/12

Miller, Gilon “The Real Pricing Strategies Behind Black Friday and Cyber Monday” 11/12/12

Ksdk.com “Local small businesses react to early Black Friday ads” 11/19/12

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