Open Letter to Mass Retailers, From Mass Retail Grunt

I have an open letter to mass retailers of America, having been an employee of one such mass retailer for the past 6+ black Fridays. I may not have the hardcore inside figures, but by observation, the majority of frenzied money-spenders (who avidly shop the giant black Friday event which supposedly contributes 15% to the $400+ billion spent during “holiday” shopping) only show up for doorbuster type sales and little else. They’re not there because of the proximity to a holiday, they’re there for their precious deal on the specific item they desire.

Industry-specific retailers have enormous lines outside the door during the year for release-day events like the next big tech device — people seem generally interested in perceived deals on items they want regardless of the season, rather than shopping in conjunction with a season. Our store (not open 24hr) has several regulars who are waiting for the store to open on regular non-holiday days of the week throughout the year because of both everyday products (some of which are collector’s item type exclusives) we sell and just making our store a regular place to visit for friendliness and personal interaction of the same people, as if an employee were a kind of schoolmate or otherwise consistent common-interest type person to interact with.

Mass retailers should consider scattering out doorbuster type events throughout the year and emphasize less during the winter holidays. Sucker-punch or cheap-shot retail sales during the holidays generates far more irritation with the commercialization of thanksgiving and Christmas, than it does happy customers that would be willing to offer repeat business, from my experience.

Here is my proposal that you send your figures-analysts to task just to explore, at least.

1. Have more regular doorbuster spend-frenzy events throughout the year. They could be centered on things like a popular video game release date instead of a holiday. You might even begin to influence the date popular video games (or other retail industries that have pivotal season-based sales) are released, by making predictable scattered mid-year doorbuster type events. People line up outside our store for ordinary sales of release-day things a lot, not just on Black Friday.

2 A monthly cosplay or dress-up kind of event is also something to consider, such as a talk-like-a-pirate day doorbuster or a president’s day doorbuster event. This is one facet of consumerism-heavy conventions that is a major draw to foot traffic even among those not particularly interested in making purchases.

3. Make it a special point that the thanksgiving-Christmas season is just an ordinary facet of the year’s sales, with a reduced emphasis on doorbuster events out of respect for the season. That single facet would earn you a much longer lasting respect as a retailer throughout the year to generate loyal and regular shoppers instead of just a place to visit once per year during one particular doorbuster event. Your employees will less stressed by the season and be able to enjoy it more by being well rested, and you will need to hire less temporary workers and establish better long-term employment figures (and sales figures to support them). Being the retailer that first genuinely explored the Christmas de-emphasis concept could earn you even bigger cred.

4. Consider testing this concept out on a few scattered stores that perhaps are lower performers, but also on one or two bigger performers to see whether sales rise during the year and generate bigger numbers in foot traffic, that might perhaps draw media attention and generate foot traffic by people who take pride in the point of de-emphasized Christmas commercialism. Your store-card conversion figures might also leap because of an increased appreciation of the company and what it stands for, rather than eye-rolling cheap-shot tricks that seem to be the primary strategy.

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