Black Friday is the term used to mark the start of the traditional
Christmas shopping season in which retailers transition from being in
the red (posting losses) to black (turning profits). The difference
this year might get an extra boost as merchandise in stores online and
off utilize social networks, Web sites and mobile applications. Will
having access to the new social media tools available be enough to turn
that red ink black? Check out ten enterprises that are banking on it!
The BlackFriday.info Web site which posts retailers’ Black Friday specials, partnered with AOL to launch a Black Friday toolbar to give Web users one-click access to its updates. As they get closer to Black Friday 2009, they will be posting sale information along with Black Friday ad scans.
2-Toys “R” Us Mobile Shopping
Toys "R" Us launched "Mobile Shopping," allowing customers to shop its online inventory using mobile phones. Customers can use the new mobile-enabled Toysrus.com or BlackBerry and iPhone applications to make purchases, get shopping help, research products during in-store shopping trips and check the availability of items that are out of stock at stores.
3- Toys “R” Us Facebook Fan Page
Toys “R” Us fans who access a special Black Friday application and submit an RSVP by 12:01 a.m. Monday will get a sneak peak of the chain’s in-store Black Friday specials that won’t appear in newspapers until Thanksgiving. Over 363,809 fans have already signed up to receive the timely announcements. This offering coupled with the mobile app above is the first time that the chain has done a Black Friday campaign using social media.
4- Staples' Facebook & Twitter Accounts
Staples Facebook Fan PageStaples Twitter Profile Account
Framingham-based office supply chain Staples gave the first previews of its Black Friday specials this past week via its Facebook fan page launched in June and Twitter, which it started using last month.
“We recognize that social media has become a growing channel, and that a lot of customers use it to stay on top of deals and bargains,” spokesman Mark Crowley said. “Second, it was an easy way to say thanks to our Facebook fans and Twitter followers.
Staples will continue to use both social networking channels to give customers their first looks at Cyber Monday deals and other holiday specials.
5- Apple's 'Black Friday' One Day Event
Also capitalizing on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, Apple has announced a “special Apple one-day shopping event” on November 27. The company posted a teaser saying the following:
- “Come back to the Apple Online Store this Friday for a special one-day-only shopping event. You’ll find lots of great iPod, iPhone and Mac gift ideas — all with free shipping.”
6- Yahoo! Shopping App
Yahoo has also launched a new app that lets consumers search UPC codes while shopping to compare store prices against online prices. The iPhone and iPod Touch application lets you search through and buy from millions of products in their vast catalog. Whether you’re out with friends, on a bus, or in a store, you can search, read reviews, save, share products with others, and click to buy at any one of their merchant Web sites directly within the application.
BlackFriday@GottaDeal.com is an aggregator of store offerings and deals for Black Friday. The Black Friday sale items on this site are available for ordering from the store's web site at the Black Friday sale ad price, or sometimes even less than the advertised price. This list will continue to be updated by volunteers from now through the weekend of Black Friday.
In addition to this list, they also have a page dedicated to the many online Cyber Monday sales.
MyBFDeals.com has teamed up with some of the top mom bloggers to bring you strategy, experiences, links, and more all geared to help save you money. Take a look through the Whrrl experiences at Whrrl.com (a location-based social network) and vote for your favorites, or add your own.
9- Gizmodo’s BlackFriday Feed
For gadget-lovers, Gizmodo’s #blackfriday feed has the latest posts about the best electronic deals to be had.Their master list of Giz-friendly deals—a hefty read—includes similar items priced differently at different stores.
10- DealNews.com App
DealNews has a free Black Friday app that lets you sort deals by “Early Bird,” “In Store Only,” and “Limited Availability,” as well as see photos of the sale items. Their app will keep you up to date on deals that are as good or better than the best deals you'll find elsewhere for Black Friday. Each deal is hand-picked by the DealNews editors every day. Check out the free app at Apple's iTune App store. The application will switch over to Cyber Monday specials once Black Friday is over.
Putting so much stock into the 4-day period that includes Black Friday, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and Cyber Monday, one can only wonder if all this effort will truly put the "black" back into retail sales. While we see a glimmer of improvement in the economy, I wonder if perhaps Black Friday "getting social" will mark the beginning of a turn-around as we go limping into 2010. Your thoughts?
Uncle Sam's Black Friday