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How retailers are promoting Black Friday weekend deals

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File another one away in the "how time flies" category, because Thanksgiving and Black Friday are mere days away now. As families start gathering all the ingredients for next week's fixings, retailers are already primed to let the public know about their Black Friday weekend deals. So what do retailers have planned to target consumers this year? As the / BIGinsight Holiday 2012 pre-holiday study shows, quite a bit, in fact.

    • Thanksgiving Day counts. Retailers understand that Thanksgiving Day itself has become a significant shopping day – 46% of those we surveyed this fall planned specific Thanksgiving Day promotions to entice customers to get a head start on their holiday shopping.
      • Retailers get the word out early. Almost half of retailers surveyed will be getting the word out early to customers about both Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend specials:  29.7% a week or more before Thanksgiving Day, and another 16.2% a good 5 to six days before Turkey Day.
        • Offers span discounts and free shipping. Consumers can expect a range of offers from retailers over Thanksgiving weekend. For example, almost half of retailers surveyed will offer special deals on specific products or categories. Approximately two out of five retailers will offer a one-day sale (41.7%). Cognizant of its conversion power, over one-third (36.1%) plans to offer free standard shipping on all purchases.
          • Social media is key to promote in-store offers...
          • Knowing also that many shoppers are likely to do careful research before heading to the mall and stores over Black Friday weekend, many brick-and-mortar retailers surveyed said they will be using social media to promote their in-store specials and events. Facebook is the hands-down medium of choice for retailers looking to promote in-store offers (80.6%), although just half of retailers plan to tap Twitter for similar purposes – and nearly one quarter will use blogs. As retail executives noted in a recent and NRF members' webinar discussing holiday marketing essentials, it's important to give credit to the SEO boost these social networking efforts can provide for brands.
          • are email and search... Social is certainly big – but retailers are also using email (74.2%) and search marketing (54.8%) to persuade customers to stop by and snatch-up deals. Similarly,  retailers will be using mobile alerts more heavily this year than last (29% this year vs. 18.4% last year), a smart move to engage customers when they’re potentially already on the road or exploring the stores.
          • ...though some retailers overlook the home page for in-store info. Surprisingly, less than half will use home page messaging to get the word out about in-store offers – seemingly a missed opportunity as consumers tap websites to locate stores, research products and prices, and search for offers before facing the crowds in person.

            A top-line takeaway from this data? These promotional efforts fall nicely within multichannel retailers' price matching strategies that have received quite a bit of coverage recently. For more insights about Black Friday Weekend shopping, please see the full results of the eHoliday 2012 pre-holiday study on the site.