What makes Black Friday work for some retailers and not others?

Retail Wire panelists had a chance this week to give their “post-mortem” observations about Black Friday. In particular, what seemed to work (and not work) as traffic drivers in a tough economy? My advice? Keep it simple:

We don’t know who “won” or “lost” Black Friday just yet, but the evidence suggests that it was flat at best: More traffic and transactions, smaller average purchases. The “top ten” list published with this discussion also suggests that electronics rules the roost again in 2009. Black Friday is dominated by wanted items at hot price points, perhaps more than at any other time, because shoppers are focused on how many of these items fit into their predetermined budgets. Layering on extra percentage savings, etc. may work at other times during the holiday season but tends to muddy the message on Black Friday. That being said, some extra incentives (such as a bounceback coupon with a minimum purchase) are good ways to drive at least one more hot item into the shopping basket.

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