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Retailers Should Prep For ‘Super Shoppers’ For Black Friday 2016

And ‘Christmas Creep’ may be happening now, judging by Placed’s store visit data.

About 27.5 percent of consumers who went holiday shopping on Black Friday also got a head start by beginning their buying on Thanksgiving, in-store ad attribution provider Placed reports.

Going into 2016, Placed CEO David Shim advises retailers to allocate resources to identify and target these “super shoppers,” who represent an audience that is not only ready to buy, but actively searching for deals.

Placed Retail Traffic ChangeIn a sense, the advent of “super shoppers” represents a heightening of the consumer frenzy that traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season. And just as consumers have more options to immediately find products they want via digital channels, retailers are intensely battling to keep up with choosy, fickle customers.

And while 27.5 percent may not seem like a huge amount of shoppers, the scrutiny the four-day Thanksgiving weekend gets from analysts means incremental sales have magnified significance.

Black Friday Week

It all adds up to the idea that Black Friday can be said to actually begin hours, if not days, early for a considerable portion of shoppers and stores.

“Similar to ‘Christmas Creep,’ ‘Black Friday Creep’ is real, starting with the expansion to Thanksgiving,” Shim said. “And now, many retailers are advertising a week of Black Friday deals.”

In terms of narrowing down the best times to expect consumers — and plan targeted ads accordingly — Placed also found distinct patterns in shopping activity this past Black Friday weekend. For example, compared to 2014, consumers were less likely to shop in the early morning, and more likely to shop later in the day.

Looking at week-over-week store visits, early morning and mid-afternoon resulted in the greatest change in foot traffic, which lines up with store openings and door buster deals. However, Placed’s year-over-year data highlights this trend isn’t as strong as it was last year, something borne out by the National Retail Foundation’s survey of the holiday weekend.

Placed's David Shim
Placed’s David Shim

“With the decrease in store visitation in the early mornings year-over-year, it highlights consumers have more channels and opportunities to capture discounts without the mad early morning rush,” Shim noted. “In reviewing the store visitation data by hour, it highlights consumers are migrating between retailers to when the doors open or the deals are released.”

Placed also found that mid-afternoon brick-and-mortar store traffic trends weren’t as strong as last year. That could point to the greater use of online shopping tools, perhaps suggesting greater need to align “omnichannel” methods like online ordering for in-store pickup.

“In 2015, consumers were less likely to trek out before sunrise to capture those Black Friday deals, and were more likely to stay in, and shop online,” Shim said. “Interestingly, as the day progressed, we saw visitation slowly rise and actually exceed last year’s numbers.”

With the comparison between Black Friday and the previous Friday in November, it highlights that Black Friday activity is focused on the early morning hours when stores open, followed by door busters in the afternoon, Shim added.

Placed Black Friday Visit ShareBeing aware of the rapid movement between periods of high shopping activity and lulls can ultimately make a difference for competing stores. Placed’s stats offer particular insight into Big Box retailers’ activity and how smaller rivals might be able to capture their store visit-share.

According to Placed, Walmart dominated visit-share across 5 selected retailers, never going below 6 percent. In comparison, Home Depot’s visit share peaked at 6am, while Target followed two hours later at 8am.

“By spacing out when they open their doors, we’re seeing retailers capture a larger percentage of visit-share at that initial hour of opening,” Shim said.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.