Maximum Shopping Overdrive ~ Random Waves of Insight
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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Maximum Shopping Overdrive

On Thanksgiving Day, someone mentioned how some stores usually used to open at 5 a.m. the morning of Black Friday. But this year, some would open one hour earlier, at 4 a.m. I joked about a scenario in which they opened at 11 p.m. Thanksgiving night. That would give shoppers an extra 5 hours from just opening at 4 a.m.!

Apparently, some stores had the same idea I did, but took it completely seriously. Actually, I had theorized that maybe in a few years it would happen, but it turns out it already has! I read on Yahoo that a bunch of stores opened at Midnight! So technically, they were still waiting for Black Friday to arrive before starting the shopping day, but they were starting it at the earliest possible moment. Hard core...

It does make sense to open up earlier, since the hardest core shoppers will come as early as you allow them in order to get the best deals. The less intense shoppers will still come later, seeking deals left behind by their vicious brethren and shopping cousins. So to open earlier, you give yourself the opportunity to sell more merchandise. It sounds simple, but let's look at it in more detail.

If you open your store for one hour, then all the customers that had planned on shopping would cram in during that one hour and get whatever they can find. The "really together" people show up, and the "always late" people miss out. So you made money from the together crowd, but not from the latecomers.

Now, if you had your store open for a full 24-hour period, the together people would show up right away at the start, and grab all the good deals. That leaves the harder-to-sell items behind. Then, hours later, the frantic latecomers arrive desperate to find something, anything, to help them get by this Christmas. "I need gifts stat!" So then you can sell those people all the lesser deals, and they'll be grateful to find anything at all.

The longer the store is open after the "together" crowd leaves, the more time there is for the rest of the shoppers to buy up all the remaining merchandise.

So (I think) the lesson is, the longer a store is open for special holiday shopping, the more merchandise will move, and the more money will be made.

It also makes sense from a Physical Store vs. The Internet standpoint, since sales have been down and may continue to fall as more people do more shopping remotely and online.

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