"Imagine a world where the only thing you have to wrestle for on Thanksgiving is the last piece of pumpkin pie." That voice-over to the opening of the new TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods commercial promoting the stores' closure on Thursday. The spot asks viewers to hearken back to a time when Thanksgiving meant eating too much and falling asleep on the couch with your family rather than fighting shoppers in crowded stores for a 40-inch smart TV that's on sale.
The "Bring back the holidays" commercial represents a growing backlash of "Black Friday Eve." Companies like Apple, Pier 1 Imports, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Crate & Barrel will remain closed in response. REI is taking it a step further and shuttering all of its 143 stores from Wednesday night to Saturday, pushing the hashtag @OptOutside.
Results from MarketLive's 7th Annual Holiday Research Study underscore consumers' negative response to opening on Thanksgiving. The study reveal that roughly 65 percent hate or dislike the trend of retailers opening stores on Thanksgiving Day; only 12 percent of Americans surveyed said they like it or love it; and 61 percent said they will not shop on Black Friday if they shopped in the store on Thanksgiving Day.
The decision to remain closed on Thursday may result in feel-good advertising campaigns that appeal to this sector of the population that would rather stay home with their relatives, but the National Retail Federation claims the move may have less to do with family values and tradition and more to do with the companies' bottom lines.
According to the NRF, the early Black Friday launch in recent years has caused costs to rise which has slowed sales. In fact, 2014 sales saw an 11 percent drop in Black Friday four-day weekend sales. Essentially, Thanksgiving shopping is stealing the thunder from Black Friday sales. Many experts, however, say consumer holiday shopping is beginning much earlier than November and point to Labor Day as the start date.
Armed with smart phones, savvy consumers know when and where to look for sales and coupons. This means marketers must engage in real time with consumers where and when they want to shop. They must embrace omnichannel and figure out how to connect their interactions across the web, stores, devices, and most importantly on social platforms. With both competition and discounts increasing, retailers must find new ways to break through the noise before, during, and after the holidays. Only then will staying closed on Thanksgiving will truly resonate with consumers.