retail | November 24, 2014

Black Friday Not a Deal for Companies, or Consumers: Retail Speaker Douglas Stephens

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, retailers are gearing up for the biggest shopping event of the season: Black Friday. Retail futurist Douglas Stephens is examining this relatively new trend, and how it has crept up across the U.S. border into Canada. "It's morphed into a real circus, to be honest," he says.

Appearing on CTV's Canada AM late last week, Stephens commented on the surge of the pseudo-holiday's popularity. "Retailers are piling on. They're extending that shopping day, that extravaganza, and it's become quite a thing." And with discounts appearing so much earlier than before, questions surrounding the profitability of Black Friday sales are popping up. In a CBC Radio interview, Stephens talked about the power of the consumer over the retailer. With our smartphones in hand, we're now cherry-picking which promotions we want to take advantage of. Stores that are hoping to lure us in with one great deal so we'll buy other regular-priced items may be out of luck. So why are so many retailers stuck on the idea of a three, four, or even five-day sale this weekend? “I liken it to a drug," explains Stephens. "It’s like crack! Once a retailer gets on it, it’s very difficult for them to get off it, even if they know it’s bad for them."

So, is it worth it to fight the crowds and head to the mall this week? "No, you don't get the best deal on Black Friday," says Stephens.

In his talks, Stephens shows companies how to stay ahead of the changing mega-trends in demographics, economics, and technology that are resetting retail. To book Douglas Stephens as a speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency.

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