Circulars in print are powerful and popular form of advertising
When Thursday’s Thanksgiving edition of the Star Tribune arrived on my doorstep Thursday morning I was surprised at the “black Friday” circulars. It was like the Star Tribune Twin Cities editions of years ago. There were literally hundreds of pages of inserts by major retailers.
I also thought it was interesting that they were all in print. It was kind of a good reminder that even with all the other advertising mediums available, including the Internet, print still has a major place in the advertising schemes of major retailers. They spend millions in research determining what works, and it is clear, print still has a major place.
After the Internet became so popular I saw many national retailers cut back on their catalogs. Then those catalogs returned, maybe not as thick as before, but they returned on a regular basis. The reason is that the piece of print in a person’s hand is a powerful reminder that a store exists and what kind of merchandise it carries. The companies used the printed catalogs to sell merchandise and drive people to their Internet sites.
There is still something about being able to see and touch something before you buy it. A person needs to try things on to get an idea how a certain brand fits and a person wants to feel fabric to see if it is flimsy or likely to shrink or even to simply see what materials are in the fabric.
There is a term for that called “show rooming.” A merchant’s store becomes a showroom for Internet sales. It has advantages for everyone. The customer gets an item close to what he or she wants and the store is less likely to get a return because an item doesn’t fit or isn’t what he or she thought it would be based on a picture.
I’ve commented before on the J.C. Penney effort to go away from sales every week and simply price merchandise reasonably from the beginning. What is something really worth if it is always 20, 30 or 40 percent off?
Well CEO Ron Johnson got the axe when JC Penney retail sales plunged with the honest pricing policy, so the store chain is back to the sale model of selling.
I think I used the example of the Stafford oxford cloth easy iron dress shirt. With the low price policy I saw it in stores for $17 and sometimes $15. Now that same shirt sits on the shelf at $35!
What is the better deal, $17 any day or $35 every day except sale days?
Apparently more consumers preferred the discount to a real price. Strange!
The term “black Friday” has always bugged me. At one time it was an in-house term that meant that a good after Thanksgiving retail weekend could send a merchant into the black and into a good retail season.
I always associate “black” with something somber. Now, maybe laying out hundreds of dollars for Christmas gifts is a somber event. But I doubt that is what kind of a feeling merchants want to generate in potential customers.
There are a lot of articles out about how people need to be careful about what they buy on these kinds of sales. Many of the featured items are stripped down versions specially created to be sale leader items. In other words, they are not the deals they appear to be. And yet some are real deals. As always, the buyer needs to be careful and make sure he is getting what he or she thinks he or she is getting. Price isn’t everything.
I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. We were surrounded with brothers, sisters, nieces, our daughters and lots of grandkids. So, needless to say, you didn’t find any of us at special sales Thursday night or Friday morning! But we had a great time.
I hope the coming month as we head into the Christmas season is a joyous one for you and your family and there is nothing “black” in your way, except, perhaps the surface of the highway as you head out for many seasonal events.