Everyone knows what Black Friday is. It’s the day after Thanksgiving when retailers kickoff big sales events to get consumers into their stores.
And, these days, most people know about Cyber Monday too; the Monday after Black Friday when online retailers and merchants entice shoppers with more sales.
What most people don’t know is that when this season sets records for online sales, it will be the beginning of the end for at least a dozen bricks-and-mortar retailers.
In other words, this Friday is going to be Black Death Friday for some of your favorite stores, the companies that own them, and their stocks.
The Rubicon’s been crossed. This is the end of retailing as we used to know it.
The Game Has Changed
Online retailers aren’t waiting for Cyber Monday to push sales anymore. Cyber Monday is now just another big draw day, like Alibaba Group’s (NYSE:BABA) “Single’s Day.”
No online seller’s going to wait until Monday to launch sales when they know every other retailer is trumpeting Black Friday sales.
Amazon.Com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), of course, is launching Black Friday deals before Black Friday.
It’s slicing and dicing prices in 30 categories of goodies, including toys, electronics, fashion, beauty, kitchen, and sporting goods. It’s even better if you’re a Prime member because you get an even earlier notice about deals.
And really, why go out shopping on Black Friday when Amazon’s fulfillment and delivery options can have your merchandise delivered to you in the comfort of your home?
Shopping’s even easier with Amazon’s voice-activated Echo, and consumers who own one will get an exclusive shopping window several hours earlier than the general public, starting at 5 p.m. Pacific today.
As far as missing out on items you might forget you want, Amazon’s got that covered too. Its mobile app can be set for “Watch a Deal” alerts to notify customers of a price drop and offers AR views (that’s “augmented reality,” for you mall shoppers) to see how items look in their space.
Not to be left behind, eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) started offering Black Friday deals starting on Tuesday, November 14th – a full ten days before mall zombies make it out on the official Black Friday.
Adding insult to injury, eBay’s even flagging prices on items that beat or match prices at Macy’s, Kohl’s or other rivals. Talk about a frontal assault.
eBay said price-matching would continue through Cyber Monday, with no blackouts during the Black Friday shopping days.
Online retailers are smarter than ever before. They know exactly how to target the dying bricks-and-mortar dinosaurs, and their firepower is devastating.
This Black Friday is Many Retailers’ Last Gasp
For retailers, the two weeks leading up to Black Friday are all about advertising. According to Kantar Media, they spent $474.6 million last year and $488.4 million in 2015 during that period.
That spending should increase this year, analysts say, because this year isn’t about letting shoppers know about upcoming sales. It’s giving them notice for sales have already begun.
Amazon’s even striking the urgency chord by having a ticking clock next to some deals.
Competing bricks-and-mortar retailers, of course, have launched special prices early. But for them, advertising spending is more expensive and less effective than the targeted direct advertising that online retailers are capable of.
And then there’s consumer sentiment against retail openings on Thanksgiving Day. That negative impression of compromising family time for shopping sales doesn’t translate to online retailers. Online, families can shop together at their dining room tables if they want to.
Everything’s changed for bricks-and-mortar retailers, forever. This year’s early push by online retailers will take the last breath away from more than a dozen retailers already on their last legs.
They’ll do what they can to put on a brave face this holiday season, but we know what their advertising budgets are, what their cash flow looks like, and what their debt levels are.
The only thing we don’t know is whether they’ll be able to sell enough this season to keep their doors open.
With the earlier onslaught by online retailers stealing sales long before Black Friday, it will be just a matter of months into the New Year before bankruptcy announcements will be headline news.
Those dozen dying retailers are on our list at my Zenith Trading Circle newsletter, where we track who’s got the cash, the sales, the vendor credit, the debt, and the breathing room to make it through this year. Then we target the ones whose graves are being dug this holiday season.
Just last Friday, Zenith members had the opportunity to score 117% on a retailer play they held for just four days, and they’ve had dozens of other triple-digit opportunities just like it. If you’re interested in learning how we do it, you should click here while there’s still time.
These retailers’ demise won’t be pretty. The plague that is online shopping for bricks-and-mortar retailers will turn Black Friday into the Black Death for those dying dozen.
And we’ll be profiting from their fall, all the way down.