I am in San Francisco at the moment, meeting with the PeopleBrowsr crew and some other key clients and partners.
I arrived over the weekend, so had a chance to indulge in some retail therapy on a wet Sunday afternoon.
What struck me is that everywhere I went, people were talking about or promoting Black Friday sales.
Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
On this day, most major retailers open extremely early, often at 4 a.m., or earlier, and offer promotional sales to kick off the shopping season, similar to Boxing Day sales in the UK and Australia.
From what I hear it is crazy here with people lining up overnight to grab a bargain.
I read an interesting story in the New York Times that explained how some of the online retailers and less well known chains are using mobile-only offers timed for 6 a.m. — precisely when shoppers are expected to be waiting outside or in line at the big stores.
This is a really smart use of mobile, and talks to the one of the allures of mobile that Alan Moore speaks of – it is there at “the point of creative impulse”.
The NYT article also talks about retailers removing point of sale barcodes to prevent shoppers from doing mobile price comparisons.
Indeed there have been reports of shoppers being prevented from even writing down prices in a Tesco store.
Interestingly though, stores such as Tesco are now offering free WiFi in-store (when linked to a Tesco Clubcard) which you would think could make it easier for shoppers to compare prices while in a Tesco store.
Expect consumers to become more and more savvy with their mobiles and being able to perform real time price checks in one store, and then visit another, or even buy it from a competitor on their mobile while in a particular store.