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May 8, 2024
(Updated on
Dec 7, 2023

Black Friday 2023: Walmart, Target, and Retailers' Ingenious Marketing Strategies

As the holiday season approaches, shoppers across the United States are gearing up for one of the most anticipated events of the year: Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving has long been synonymous with incredible deals and discounts, and retailers are eager to capture the attention of eager consumers. Many stores, including Walmart and Target, are planning to use cutting-edge marketing campaigns to entice customers this year.

The Black Friday Tradition

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is often regarded as the official kickoff of the holiday shopping season in the United States. It has become a tradition for shoppers to queue up outside brick-and-mortar stores or stay glued to their screens, scouring online deals, in search of discounted items. The name "Black Friday" itself has an interesting origin. The phrase first appeared in the 1950s when Philadelphia police officers used it to describe the frantic, heavy traffic that engulfed the city the day after Thanksgiving. The phrase gradually transformed as retailers adopted it to signify their transition from being "in the red" (operating at a loss) to being "in the black" (profitable) as a result of the holiday shopping season. In recent years, the frenzy of Black Friday has extended beyond the single-day event, spilling over into the weekend and often culminating on Cyber Monday, offering online shoppers a plethora of discounts.

Walmart's Black Friday Marketing Strategy

Walmart, one of the retail giants in the United States, is renowned for its Black Friday campaigns. In 2023, Walmart has taken an intriguing approach to grab the attention of its customers. They have once again delved into the world of pop culture by reuniting the cast of the iconic teen comedy film "Mean Girls" in their Black Friday marketing campaign.

Featuring stars like Lindsay Lohan, Lacey Chabert, and Amanda Seyfried, the campaign is aimed at evoking nostalgia among fans of the 2004 film. The ads are designed to showcase that Walmart+ members can enjoy exclusive three-hour early access to Black Friday deals, which begin on November 8 and continue to roll out throughout the month. Walmart's use of popular film references is not new. Last year, they successfully employed the cast of "Office Space" to launch their pre-Black Friday efforts. This innovative approach seems to work well, as it not only attracts the attention of potential customers but also creates a sense of excitement and anticipation for Black Friday deals.

Target's Pre-Black Friday Deals

Target, another retail giant, is adopting a different approach for Black Friday in 2023. They have launched a four-week period of pre-Black Friday deals that began on October 29 and will continue through Thanksgiving weekend.

Credit: Target

This marketing strategy allows Target to capture the attention of early shoppers who are keen on securing deals well in advance of the Black Friday frenzy. By offering discounts and promotions in the weeks leading up to the big day, Target not only increases its sales but also provides shoppers with the convenience of spreading out their purchases, potentially reducing the stress associated with last-minute shopping. Target's approach also aligns with the growing trend of "Black November," where retailers start offering deals early in the month to extend the shopping season. This allows them to compete effectively with online retail giants like Amazon, which often offer enticing deals throughout November.

Other Retailers' Black Friday Marketing Strategies

While Walmart and Target are undoubtedly major players in the Black Friday heist, numerous other retailers are crafting their unique marketing strategies to attract customers in 2023.

1. Amazon's Extended Black Friday: Amazon, the e-commerce giant, is renowned for its extensive Black Friday deals. In recent years, Amazon has stretched Black Friday into a week-long event known as "Black Friday Week." This strategy allows the company to keep consumers engaged and make the most of their vast product offerings. With deals changing every day, shoppers are encouraged to return frequently to catch the latest discounts.

2. Best Buy's Doorbusters: Best Buy, the electronics retailer, has made "doorbusters" a central theme of its Black Friday marketing strategy. These are limited-time, heavily discounted deals available both in-store and online. By highlighting these doorbusters, Best Buy creates a sense of urgency, compelling shoppers to act quickly to secure these sought-after deals.

Several other retailers opt for early bird specials, opening their doors exceptionally early in the morning to cater to shoppers who are eager to get the best deals. By offering exclusive discounts during these early hours, stores create a sense of excitement and reward for early risers.

Credit: Amazon

Adapting to the Digital Landscape

In recent years, the advent of online shopping has transformed the Black Friday landscape. With the growing popularity of e-commerce, retailers must adapt to cater to the needs of digital consumers. Here are some strategies they use:

1. Online Exclusive Deals: Retailers often feature exclusive online deals that can only be accessed through their websites or mobile apps. These deals are designed to drive online traffic and encourage consumers to explore the convenience of e-commerce.

2. Mobile Shopping Apps: Mobile shopping apps have become an essential tool for retailers. They provide a seamless shopping experience, enabling customers to browse, purchase, and track their orders with ease. Retailers may offer exclusive discounts or incentives to encourage app downloads and usage.

3. Email Marketing: Email marketing campaigns play a crucial role in Black Friday promotions. Retailers send out newsletters and promotional emails to their subscribers, offering a sneak peek at the upcoming deals. They may also offer exclusive discounts to those on their email lists.

4. Social Media Engagement: Social media platforms serve as powerful tools for reaching a broad audience. Retailers use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote Black Friday deals, share exciting content, and interact with customers.

The Impact of Supply Chain Challenges

While Black Friday marketing strategies have evolved with the times, they must now contend with supply chain challenges that have disrupted global commerce. Delays in shipping and shortages of certain products have become a significant concern for retailers.

To address these challenges, many retailers have adopted strategies such as:

1. Inventory Management: Retailers are being more cautious with their inventory management to ensure that they have enough products in stock to meet the expected demand. This involves predicting popular items and ordering accordingly.

2. Transparency: Retailers are communicating more transparently with their customers about potential delays or shortages. Providing customers with information about the status of their orders helps manage expectations.

3. Early Promotions: To alleviate the strain on the supply chain, some retailers are starting their Black Friday promotions even earlier, giving them more time to fulfill orders. This extended period of deals is often referred to as "Black November."

The Future of Black Friday Marketing

The landscape of Black Friday marketing continues to evolve as retailers adapt to changing consumer behaviour and external challenges. With the growth of e-commerce and the impact of supply chain disruptions, retailers must remain agile and innovative in their strategies. As we look ahead, it's clear that Black Friday will continue to be a vital part of the holiday shopping season. Consumers can expect a blend of in-store and online deals, early bird specials, and exclusive discounts offered by retailers eager to capture their attention.

Whether you're a fan of the in-store experience or prefer the convenience of online shopping, Black Friday remains a dynamic and exciting event that brings people together in the pursuit of the best deals and discounts. Retailers, both large and small, will continue to craft inventive marketing strategies to ensure they stand out in this highly competitive landscape. As Black Friday 2023 approaches, shoppers can anticipate an array of enticing promotions and discounts, while retailers aim to make the most of this holiday shopping, leveraging the power of marketing to attract, engage, and satisfy the desires of eager customers.

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