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Strong economy, retailers' nimble tactics make Black Friday sales look promising, marketing experts say

Monday, November 19, 2018

LAWRENCE — Retailers likely will be happy with sales results of Black Friday, signaling many have changed their tactics in recent years to handle both in-store and online shoppers, according to two marketing faculty members in the University of Kansas School of Business.

The KU business school researchers are available to discuss the Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the 2018 holiday season's retail forecast.

Jessica Li, associate professor of marketing and consumer behavior, said marketers have been forced to change in recent years how they approached Black Friday and the holiday shopping season.

"The economy and e-commerce spending are going strong this year. Although a substantial number of consumers will still shop at brick-and-mortar stores, many will opt for the more convenient methods of online or mobile," Li said. "In fact, a recent Reuters poll found that about 16 percent of Black Friday consumers will shop primarily or totally in stores, while 37 percent plan to shop primarily or totally online."

Kristen Helling, lecturer in marketing, said traditional retailers still have been successful in adopting ways to meet changing consumer behavior and that traditional brick-and-mortar sales still generate a large amount of retail sales annual. She said Target, for example, recently announced a free two-day shipping option with no minimum order amount this holiday season.

"Retailers that are experiencing the most success in-store are omnichannel retailers," Helling said. "Omnichannel retailing is a coordinated effort to provide a synchronized and seamless experience for their customers. The retailers that are capturing the most sales have adapted to and are putting their customers' needs first."

To arrange an interview with Li or Helling, contact George Diepenbrock at 785-864-8853 or gdiepenbrock@ku.edu.

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