Black Friday is one of the most prosperous days of the entire holiday season. Statistics show that this one day generated more than a billion sales in 2010. Each year, retailers look forward to this momentous shopping event because it gives them the opportunity to move old stock, create buzz for new inventory and boost sales by appealing to bargain seeking shoppers. For several marketers, it is a way to get back in the black and ride a wave of momentum into the new year.

The hype around this year’s Black Friday hasn’t been any less than the hype for previous years. Both stores offline and servers online will be packed with traffic. If anything, the statistics are an indication that retailers will need to have stepped up their marketing game from day one because in the end preparation will determine the winners and losers of the Black Friday shopping frenzy.

Starting Early Is Key

Black Friday officially begins at 12:01 AM the morning after Thanksgiving. That hasn’t stopped retailers from getting an early start with their sales and promotional efforts. Retail giant Walmart planned to get a jump last year by kicking off its sales at 10 pm on Thanksgiving evening. A move like this is sure to attract consumers who understand the importance of beating the rush, but good preparation goes beyond putting the deals out there a little early. It’s also about getting an early start with the actual planning. Some of the best marketing campaigns are planned months in advance.

Visibility Matters

Some consumers prefer to thumb through the pages of sales papers to find Black Friday sales. More and more people are turning to the internet to secure their deals. Even those who are headed out to the crowded malls and retail stores are starting to do the bulk of their research online. The tool most of them rely on to find bargains? Their favorite search engine. Online marketers who want to maximize their visibility and benefit from all the traffic that pours in around Black Friday will apply the early bird mantra to their SEO strategy. The opportunities are there, but websites will need to have secured great rankings before consumers start shopping.

Information Reigns Supreme

For consumers, a successful Black Friday shopping venture is largely dependent on having all the pertinent details. They need to know what’s on sale, for how long, the exact details of return policies, and so on. They will surely want to get information from, or even share shopping experiences with, their friends on Facebook and Twitter, so expect the internet to play a significant role. Marketers who realize this and capitalize on the opportunity to be a trusted source of information will be in position to clean up big time. Whether it’s providing updates via social or email, it pays to be a valuable informational resource in the consumer’s time of need.

Black Friday was huge for the retail industry in 2010. 2011 saw a slight dip in overall purchases, but the economy is showing gradual improvement. Will 2012 be a return to form? We will have to wait for some official numbers to roll out, but with items like new iPhones, iPads and Kindles on the gift list, it has the potential to be one of the best yet.

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