Thanksgiving or Thanks-for-shopping? An entrepreneurial holiday

27 Nov 2014
| Last update: 20 Mar 2015

 Homework: The meaning of Thanksgiving

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When I was a little girl, one of my favorite cartoons was called “Life with Louie“. Know what I’m talking about?!

If you’re not so sure, I’ll make a quick resume. It’s about this funny American grown-up remembering his ridiculously amusing childhood (and normal at the same time), together with his father’s war stories, the family’s problems, his school-time and so on.

One episode recalls the holiday of Thanksgiving. Louie has to find the meaning behind the name. In the end, he tracks it down to his mother’s pumpkin pie, his father’s frustration of having his house being bombarded by annoying relatives and his pride in being the first to cut the turkey, in his relatives’ and friends’ mundane interpretations.

The holiday has a different meaning for everyone in turn.

As entrepreneurs, business-people, marketers and as for myself, a person involved in a startup, how do you think we view this holiday (and all of them for that matter)? Is it still Thanksgiving or more like Thanks-for-shopping?

 Thanksgiving: stay for dinner or go on a shopping spree?

With only 1 day to go till Black Friday, can you resist the pressure of compulsive shopping?

As you might’ve already noticed, this year, many stores are open to shoppers. It’s actually a trend that more stores follow each year: jumping the gun on Black Friday and beginning their sale event on the fourth Thursday in November.

For many stores and retailers, Thanksgiving Day seems to have replaced Black Friday. What if I told you that the best day this year to save the most money on merchandise isn’t on Black Friday, but on Black Thursday? And for the record, Amazon markets the whole month as a Black Friday event.

So, leave the turkey cook on its own in the stove, grab your purse and catch those last-minute deals, until tomorrow for Black Friday, if you know what I’m saying :)) !

Why the stores choose to be open? 

As entrepreneurs, I think we already know the answer to this one: It pays!

First of all, consumers have one more day to do their “holiday” shopping (so, it’s all in favor of your client!). Second of all, you wouldn’t want to risk any competitor being open and taking all the juice, while you’re at home, enjoying a hot dinner.

For e-commerce, the reasons are more obvious. Online stores are open 24/7 (the 27th of November 2014 not being an exception). Now, if in the online world stores are open, why not in the offline one also? (Check out a list of stores open on Thanksgiving Day)

 Why the stores choose to be closed?

Some of the stores to be closed are Costco, Marshalls, GameStop and T. J. Maxx, according to New York Times. “They will remain closed that day to show that they are family-friendly and honoring the holiday.” Employees are grateful and have already expressed their appreciation, because let’s face it: who would like to work on a holiday?

The most straight-forward answer is: entrepreneurs and marketers. Why? In spite of all downsides and disadvantages, the idea still remains that the age of consumerism functions according to its own laws. One of the laws is holidays drive sales, if promoted properly.

 Thanksgiving or Thanks-for-shopping?

Any good entrepreneur knows not to let this opportunity be wasted. Business Insider lets us know that the average American spends about $17 on a Thanksgiving dish, while this might not seem like much, many people throw dinner parties and the family and intimate friends get together. Dinner involves food, booze, and why not, presents?!

As with any holiday, on the 27th of November 2014, people go shopping for various reasons: they need to organize that dinner, buy Christmas lights, buy the Halloween pumpkin, do window-shopping while listening to carols, buy lots of presents online, and just immerse in the holiday atmosphere.

A good businessman, especially in e-commerce, knows how to exploit this:

Invest more into the “holiday” spirit

Your company appeals to people, your customers are people, so if you want to respect them, you probably know that you need to honor the “holiday” spirit.

You can’t altogether forget that people celebrate and cheer over something wonderful, it’d be like slapping your clients in the face. They are optimistic and set on spending a few bucks to make someone smile. Why forget about it?

ebay is an example of a business that always remembers, telling its users that they want to help with sales increase before the holiday rush.

Preparing beforehand for these special occasion takes intuition and money management. You need to do a little sacrifice in a short critical period, so that your company will be benefited afterwards.

IBM predicted a strong shopping season, showing that the online sales will have increased with 15% over the five days between today and Cyber Monday. Even if you neglect the hear-say, you should never neglect the numbers.

A sensible entrepreneur knows that they should align with peak season dates – including international holidays. So, they’ll invest with about 20% more of their budget for sales and marketing  in the holiday season, starting with Halloween – Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Year’s Eve – and ending with Green Monday (the 8th of December this year).

 Appeal to your loyal clients first

Around this day people are more bent to take advantage of the sales to buy for themselves, rather than buying gifts to others. Only around Christmas they change to gift purchases.

Taking this into consideration, you can schedule your promotions. You can first aim them at loyal customers, so that they’d feel privileged, and by doing this you’ll also lower the annoying effects of shopping happening all at the same time.

You might have e-mail lists of those who are your company’s firm, your subscribers, people who’ve bought your product/service more than once, and you can let them know of your sales first.

Extend open hours

Yes, I know: not only do you work on holidays, but you also get to work extra. If your business is online, no problem, it’s open 24/7. If it’s not, however, think of the good you’re doing your company in the long run.

There might be many last-minute buyers, who need that special gift and your store is open for more time than usually.

Your competitors might have gone home early, and you’re the only one there. Now that’s an opportunity to sale and win a loyal client!

Mobile is the new holiday tradition

IBM actually predicted that half of all online shopping today (about 53%) is done from a mobile device. In just a year mobile sales have increased with more than 9%.

If you have an online business, you’re in for the win. There’s also something great you can do for future holiday planning, as Beata Shneyer shows: Make a business App that will boost holiday sales!

It’s great for in-store advertising, in-store promotion and it boosts e-commerce. Basically an app helps you turn holiday downloads into holiday sales.

If your business is offline, why not consider expanding in the online world, as it’s a huge opportunity for branding, sales and customer engagement?

 Are you awaiting the next holiday?

Well, there is certainly less than a month till Christmas, but with Black Friday tomorrow and Cyber Monday next week, I say: on your mark, get set, go!!!

Hope you’ve found this post about Thanksgiving or Thanks-for-shopping(depends on how you view it 🙂 ) useful. Would you consider putting in practice some of the tips?

Stay tuned to find out what our Squirrly writers have prepared for you on Black Friday. Subscribe to out newsletter now

Ligia Mangra
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Ligia Mangra

Content Writer at Squirrly
A passionate writer. I love seeing a full moon and I like to rock 'n roll in life. Can't wait till my first novel gets published. Thumbs up, it'll be a fantasy horror!
Ligia Mangra
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  • Jerry

    December 3, 2014 at 8:26 AM

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    • Ligia Mangra

      Ligia Mangra

      December 3, 2014 at 4:14 PM

      I’m really glad you like our blog! That’s wonderful! You can always subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll keep you up-to-date with everything that’s thrilling in the startup world.

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