NEWS BLOG (WSAU) You’ve heard about Black Friday. This year we also had Grey Thursday, the “soft opening” to the holiday shopping season on Thanksgiving night. We also have Cyber-Monday.
Perhaps you’ve also heard of Small Business Saturday and the new Giving Tuesday.
The last two “days” are not like the others. I’m not sure they’ll last.
The Thursday, Friday and Monday shopping days are all about consumerism. For better or worse, people are shopping on those days because they expect their gift-giving needs, wants, and desires to be met. I personally don’t have any inherent loyalty to the brick-and-mortar shopping experience compared to on-line. Like many, I’m a situational shopper. Buying from a store makes returns easier and lets me see the merchandise up close; shopping on-line gives more variety and lends itself to comparison shopping. What gets bought where depends on the item I’m looking for.
Small Business Saturday is fundamentally different. Obviously the retail environment has changed and is much more corporate than ever before. It makes sense for small businesses to want to highlight their uniqueness during the shopping season. Many of us like the concept of buying from hometown merchants who are a part of the community.
But, bottom line, most of us are price shoppers. Very few of us will pay more for exactly the same item just in the name of supporting the corner store over a big box. If the message of the day is “help these ma-and-pa stores out, buy local” – the day will fail. If the message is more about a uniquely different (and better) shopping experience by shopping local, more of us will be receptive. I don’t “shop local” as a generic term. I shop at my favorite stores – some of which happen to be local – because they meet my needs.
Giving Tuesday is in a similar boat. I love the idea of a day to raise awareness towards charitable giving. But most of us don’t give “to charity”. We give to specific causes and groups that we like. Giving Tuesday won’t sustain itself unless the individual charities step forward and tell their stories. The day won’t succeed if it’s just about a logo and a marketing plan.
We’re all going to have the feeling of being pushed and pulled between now and Christmas. We fundamentally like shopping and giving. The message and situation are more important than the name of the “day”. Create the right shopping experience, and I might buy on any day. Show me the right cause, and I might give at any time.