Despite the fact that many retailers are creating their own versions of Black Friday, the traditional one that happens the day after Thanksgiving will still occur as a retail event. The overcrowded stores and the insane rush to grab the latest bargain may not be part of the ritual, as the pandemic continues to affect shopping patterns. One other staple of the traditional Black Friday will also be absent — deep discounts.
That’s the take from Edited, a retail tracking platform that advises brands on pricing and merchandising strategies. According to its tracking, retailers have been reconsidering discounting products for Black Friday, mostly because of the deep discounting that became a necessity due to the high number of discounts in March when the pandemic first took hold. Those were “first time” discounts, but they still rival markdowns reached during Black Friday 2019. Edited said the average weekly U.S. discount amount in May was 44 percent, just one percentage point below the average discount of 45 percent during Black Friday last year. This has led to a 32 percent drop in new product introductions in the fashion business.
“What was more revealing: the percentage of the product assortment that was being discounted was far greater than normal,” Edited chief revenue officer Joe Aleardi told PYMNTS. “And for the traditional Black Friday we just don’t believe that the discounting is going to be at the same level. Now, I think you have to counter that a bit with the fact that there’s a lot of inventory out there. So there’s still a question about what happens with that. I think that retailers need to be smart and it shows the need to really have data at your fingertips to drive those decisions and not the kind of gut-level decisions that can lead to decreased profits.”
The ability to adjust to pricing and discount changes will depend on data, and more brands are realizing that need. For example, luxury retailer Chloé has partnered with Edited to monitor its products across multiple platforms to guarantee its pricing strategy is data-driven regardless of the market it is operating in.
“Tracking price changes efficiently was a pain point we were looking into across our retail and wholesale networks,” said Alenn Lao, eCommerce and CRM Director at Chloé. “With this data our teams are immediately notified of any changes in prices and discounts, ensuring consistency between us and our partners. This gives us insight into the necessary actions and key decision making needed to support our online business.”
Aleardi and the Edited team are not predicting a complete absence of discounting for Black Friday. This holiday season is unprecedented on many levels, and there will be retailers that look to move excess inventory. He expects more promotions that have to do with cause marketing and charity efforts.
Edited is not alone in its predictions that Black Friday will be radically different this year. “The demand is there, with the offset of Black Friday in stores expected to be lower than usual,” said Viraj D’Costa, an eCommerce forecast analyst with Forrester. “So, we’re in a transition. Instead of people waiting in line for doorbusters, there will be a line of cars around the lot waiting to pick up for curbside orders.”