Retailers aren't waiting for Black Friday

November 5, 2010 12:52:35 PM PDT
Some of the biggest name retailers are launching their holiday sales drive on Friday. They usually start on Black Friday, but not this year, not in this economy.

Websites already are sporting a Christmas look. Two retailers in particular, Sears and Best Buy, are ready to kick off Black Friday with big sales and discounts up to 50 percent. This sends a clear message to consumers.

"I could see it being a desperate thing. I personally am not ready for Christmas yet," says Santa Clara County resident Josh Rado.

However, retail stores are.

Consumers surveyed by the National Retail Federation say sales and discounts are the most important factor for their holiday shopping, so enticing deals will try to lure them in now.

Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., is a consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University's Ageno School of Business.

"They're designed to get people to act now. Personally, I think if you get something that you really want for 50 percent off now, go ahead and buy it. I don't think they're going to go much lower than that until right before the holidays, and with limited inventories, there's a good chance if it something you really want it's going to be gone," says Yarrow.

Retailers will make a big push this season in social media. The Gap on Friday is giving away 10,000 pairs of jeans to users who check in on Facebook. Dave Kerpen is CEO of Likeable Media -- a firm that helps hundreds of retailers market themselves on Facebook.

"Using Facebook and Twitter, you can reach the exact target audience that you want to reach. So if that's 25-year-old women in San Francisco that are interested in shoes, that's the target audience you can reach," says Kerpen.

Keep in mind that a 50 percent discount may be half-off the full retail price when the item might be offered from time to time for less. So the holiday shopping season is underway.

"With the economy being as it is, I think they probably think the earlier the better," says San Jose resident Sonya Stamper.

With Sears and Best Buy kicking things off on Friday, other retailers may not want to be caught in the dust, so they may be joining the fray as well soon.


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