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    Nielsen Names 10 Big Black Friday Mistakes Retailers Make

    The market analysis giant said retailers should shift strategies to optimize the day-after Thanksgiving sales opportunity.

    In less than a week, the traditional busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, will see grocers joining other channel operators on the morning after Thanksgiving to launch extreme promotions in a bid to scoop up as much of the initial spurt of seasonal spending as they can. But are they making the right moves, especially this year?

    In this unusually tight economy, it'll take more than trotting out the usual "door-buster" deals with ridiculously low prices on key items to get shoppers to line up outside your doors in the dark and cold.

    in a note to retail clients, The Nielsen Company offered a list of some common mistakes retailers of all kinds make on Black Friday.

    Mistake #1: Sticking to traditional categories

    Who says supermarkets can't sell video games, or that electronics stores can't sell soda and snacks? Many smart retailers are breaking free of traditional channel definitions that may limit the merchandise categories where they compete. If you have a cash register, you can sell it.

    Mistake #2: Not having a retailing objective
    Determine your Black Friday retailing objectives in advance. Do your door-buster ads attract new shoppers? Do they generate profits? Do they drive traffic for purchases of non-deal items?



    Mistake #3: Not measuring your objectives
    If you have measurable objectives, you need to measure them. Was Black Friday profitable for your stores? Did you attract new shoppers who returned to shop in the following weeks? Did heavy traffic drive sales of non-deal items?

    Mistake #4: Leaving a bad first impression with new shoppers
    Black Friday is a great opportunity to attract new shoppers, or win back infrequent shoppers. Don't blow it by offering a bad shopping experience.  For shoppers new to your stores, many will say either "I should shop here more often," or "I'm never coming here again." Make sure their experience is positive.

    Mistake #5: Missing loyalty opportunities
    Black Friday presents unique opportunities for retailers with loyalty programs. Rather than just rewarding shoppers who are willing to camp out overnight, why not offer special pricing to your most loyal customers over the year? Or maybe, offer the hottest deals to shoppers spending over $100 on groceries; or $500 in spending for the month of November?

    Mistake #6: Sticking to Friday morning
    What's so magical about Friday morning? Rather than focusing on a few precious hours, many retailers now offer door-busters on multiple days.  Some retailers choose the morning of Thanksgiving Day, while others offer door-busters two weeks before Thanksgiving.



    Mistake #7: Not having door-buster merchandise in stock

    When a long line of customers is waiting, perhaps in adverse conditions, for your doors to open, you'd better deliver on the promises of your Black Friday ad and Web site promos. If stock is limited for hot door-busters, let shoppers know in advance, or at the very least while they're waiting in line. Don't ever let them wait in line for products you don't have.

    Mistake #8: Creating no sense of urgency
    Shoppers are in a hurry, and appreciate retailers who can keep the lines moving quickly. Under-staffed checkouts, associates unfamiliar with ad merchandise, inadequate traffic direction, and late store openings will all lead to angry shoppers. Retailers need all hands on deck.

    Mistake #9: Shallow discounts on door-busters
    Black Friday is the one day that shoppers will be bombarded with rock-bottom pricing. Shoppers will not be impressed by so-called "door-busters" listed at everyday pricing, or modest discounts by any manufacturer willing to buy space in your Black Friday ad. If your ad includes modest discounts, please don't call them "door-busters."

    Mistake #10: Not scouting the competition
    It's more than just monitoring ad prices. Seasoned shoppers will tell you: some retailers are much better at Black Friday than others. Retailers need to have scouts in the field checking out the competition for best practices and talking to shoppers about their experiences. Use these observations to plan for next year starting this December.

    Nielsen also offers links to some common Black Friday Web sites, for more clues: BFads.net; www.blackfriday.gottadeal.com; TheBlackfriday.com; www.blackfriday.info/; Bargainist.com; DealTaker.com; and www.bargainshare.com.

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