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Black Thursday is the New Black Friday

Here are some thoughts to consider long before that Thanksgiving meal settles. Thanks to KAMA member Kathleen Atkins for contributing this guest post:

Last year, I documented the day after Thanksgiving shopping madness I have annually participated in and has been dubbed by retailers and consumers as the biggest shopping day of the year — Black Friday. The article was based on a tweet from @LauraLPotts: “Black Friday is like zombie apocalypse: you’re either one of them, or you’re locked inside praying that loved ones don’t get trampled.”

This evening, as I’m scouring the Internet doing my research, I’m prepping and flipping through Black Friday ads that have been pre-released, scanned, and posted on various web sites. I’m beginning to formulate my plan of attack.

But this year is different.

Nearly all of the stores are now opening at midnight or earlier. Gone are the days of 5 a.m. store openings I was accustomed to in the “early days.” Black Friday has evolved into Black Thursday, a round-the-clock, nationwide, sleep-deprived shopping massacre.

Black Thursday is the new Black Friday.

I will be among the thousands lined up on a sidewalk or in a parking lot with red blood-colored cranberry sauce stains on my shirt, and everyone will be facing the store’s front door just waiting for the doors to open. Traffic will be at a standstill in Turkey Creek and West Town Mall, and the struggle to obtain the best deals has never been so perilous.

The zombie shopping fever has spread, and I’m afraid it’s hit a pandemic level. I can’t help but wonder, what would Rick from The Walking Dead do?

Zombies in The Walking Dead are quite similar to Black Thursday shoppers:

  • They devour any living thing (deal) they can catch.
  • They never sleep.
  • They are more dangerous in large numbers.
  • Loud noises attract large herds of them.
  • They stand still or shuffle around rather slowly. However when in pursuit, they move much more quickly.
  • They may turn what would normally be a harmless household item into a weapon.

As I prepare to head out into the darkness the evening of Black Thursday, I will be double-knotting my tennis shoes and keeping in mind that the swiftest shoppers can be far more dangerous than the walkers roaming the earth.

Re-thinking Digital: The Evolution of Mobile & Its Impact on Web Strategies

As the number of mobile users increases, the need to integrate mobile strategies into marketing initiatives is increasing as well, a topic discussed by our own founder and lead advisor Brian at a Knoxville AMA event last week.

The Importance Of Mobile

Reaching customers has become increasingly difficult in our digital world, and as the fastest growing segment of the web, mobile is a part of that. Brian shared that the growth of the mobile web has outpaced that of desktop by 10 times, and smartphone sales have significantly surpassed PC sales in recent years.

Many marketers treat “the web” as a single medium like “print” or “TV” or “radio,” but that’s not how we see it at Pyxl. In reality, “the web” is made up of multiple distinct yet connected mediums on desktops, tablets and smartphones. As a business, it’s up to you to not only reach your audience wherever they are, but also to optimize content to work across devices.

Designing For Mobile To Optimize Integrated Engagement

As Brian discussed, desktop computers provide the most space for content display, and visitors tend to spend more time on a site when viewed on a desktop. However, more individuals are beginning to access information through tablets, which provide less space for content but still include web browsing as part of the experience. Finally, smartphones, which provide the least real estate for content, are focused, with visitors heading to a website looking for specific information on-the-go.

So, how do we integrate web strategies that satisfy all mediums?

Four Strategies For Integrating Mobile

Brian shared four options for companies considering their mobile strategy:

1. Do Nothing

The first option is to simply do nothing, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If your site covers a complex topic, those looking for information are probably expecting to complete deep research, which usually isn’t done on a small device like a smartphone. Brian shared the example of the Provision Health Alliance website, one of Pyxl’s clients. For a healthcare company like Provision, people wanting to know more will most likely seek information through a desktop.

2. Build a Mobile Site on the Same or Separate CMS

A second option is to build a mobile site on a single CMS, which provides easier updates and maintenance. Using a single CMS on two platforms decreases the cost of development with some increase in maintenance, but provides a tailored mobile experience. The downside? There will be an inconsistent experience between the desktop/tablet and smartphone experiences.

3. Build a Mobile App

This is a great option for companies that want to create a distinct experience for customers, separate from that of the main website. For instance, Pyxl client Pilot Flying J has a core website that focuses on consumers and is optimized for desktop and tablets, while its mobile app focuses purposely on travelers looking for a specific location or service.

4. Build a Responsive Site (on a Single CMS)

Building responsive websites is becoming one of the best options for companies hoping to utilize integrated engagement, with the created site adjusting naturally for each distinct medium on which it’s viewed. For companies hoping to integrate responsive web design into their strategy, Brian provided a checklist for success:

  • Wireframe. Wireframe. Wireframe.
  • Information hierarchy
  • Ration and scale imagery
  • Readability
  • “The fold” is dead
  • Orientation – horizontal, vertical
  • Less is more
  • Test. Test. Test.

Regardless of the option you choose, simply considering and thinking about mobile as part of your greater web strategy is critical to maximizing integrated engagement. If you want success in reaching customers in this digital age, having a mobile strategy is key.

Do you agree? How are you integrating mobile strategies into your marketing initiatives?

Want more information? Here’s Brian’s presentation in its entirety (scroll to the bottom of the page).

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