Malls to Kiss Butt on Black Friday

Need someone to hold your package while at the mall, all while sucking down a free beverage and reclining on a comfy couch?  Many malls around the country are promising Black Friday bargaineers a more white-glove experience.

All it can take is a few TV images of Black Friday deal-chasing—the unruly crowds, packed parking lots and frigid midnight lines—to drive many shoppers straight to the Web for their holiday shopping.

That is why this year shopping malls are testing new services and promotions to draw people back to stores for their day after Thanksgiving spending sprees. Malls are feeling the pressure to step up their services as fewer holiday shoppers are braving brick-and-mortar stores with their gift lists.

The strategy involves taking a page from the playbook of high-end retailers like Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, which offer such concierge services (including storing your purchases) and perks year round.

As those companies have learned, mainstream mall shoppers who are drawn to these types of conveniences are likely to be bigger spenders in general. And they make attractive targets, says Kit Yarrow, a professor of psychology and marketing at Golden Gate University. “People tend to make more impulse and inspired purchases in person,” she says, “especially if they’ve been made to feel like a first-class shopper.”

Will the strategy work this year? It sure does make mall shopping on Black Friday seem a bit more appealing. There’s nothing worse than being weighed down by a heavy package. A shopper whose load has been lightened will be much happier and will spend more money. Now, for easing the line to see Santa…


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