Is Staying Closed Good for Business?

It only takes one look at a Youtube video of Black Friday deal seekers stampeding through the doors of a Target to deter many people from venturing out into the madness. For the employees of these stores, it is impossible to avoid the hysteria and many have to give up their Thanksgiving with family in order to accommodate the rush of customers. Even worse, many of the mega stores like Macy’s, Target, Sears and Toys R Us are beginning their sales on Thursday, before some Thanksgiving Day meals are even enjoyed.  This transition is due to the new perks of online holiday shopping and the extended deals that these sites are offering. Black Friday is no longer just restricted to the Friday after Thanksgiving, causing many retailers to panic over the money they could potentially be losing. For the most part, consumers have not punished retailers for staying open on Thanksgiving–even though it is subject to a lot of criticism.

Some companies are taking a stand this year by remaining closed on Thanksgiving, which may set a precedent that other companies could be forced to follow in coming years. Costco, the second largest retailer in the U.S. after Wal-Mart, is closed on Thanksgiving and has taken the stance that employees deserve to be off. Some big name companies are sacrificing the financial benefit of keeping their doors open today to allow their employees to spend the holiday with their families. This makes the companies appear to genuinely care about their employees, which is important in an age where income inequality and minimum wage are hot-button issues. Aside from the surface benefits of staying closed on Thanksgiving, these companies may have made a beneficial marketing move. By showing support for the family, these companies leave customers with a good impression, which may give them the edge when Black Friday comes around.

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Thanksgiving should be spent with family and friends eating turkey and watching football not at the mall  struggling against strangers for discounted TV. Black Friday isn’t going anywhere, but maybe other companies will see the example set by businesses like Gamestop and Crate & Barrel and help stop the infiltration of Thanksgiving. So enjoy your Thanksgiving without the stampedes and crowds, that’s all tomorrow.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Brandon Hawkins, Bobby Huckabee, Savanna Mitchell, Tony Mangili, Danielle Salas

Stay Home on Black Friday and Still Save with Cartwheel at Target

To some people Target is just another “super store,” while to others it is a mysterious wonderland of savings that you somehow always leave with everything you didn’t need. Target has launched an app that allows customers to save even more money on all these “have-to-have-but-don’t-need” items. Target’s free Cartwheel app launched May 8, 2013. When launched, Target called the app a new “choose-your-own-offer savings experience”, unlike any other money-saving app out there.

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When you first download the app you are given 16 open slots that you can fill with coupons of your choice. Savings range from 5%-60% off. The app has been widely successful since its launch and has recently launched a campaign advertising early Black Friday deals, with a strong emphasis of using the Cartwheel app.

The launch included a long list of deals throughout the season but the best way to save without leaving your house on Black Friday is using the Cartwheel app for early shopping. With Cartwheel, Target will offer fifty percent off of a different toy each day. Also, from November 23rd through the 29th, Cartwheel will give users access to exclusive deals such as sixty percent off select movie titles, forty percent off select bakeware sets, and thirty percent off board games. Target started these holiday deals as far back as November 10th and they are continuing until November 29th. This article from Target’s pressroom breaks down all of the deals, extended holiday hours, and discusses more about ways to save on Black Friday:

“Nov. 23-29

Throughout the holiday season, Cartwheel – Target’s mobile savings app – is offering 50 percent off a different toy every day. Additionally, from Nov. 23 to 29, Cartwheel will feature exclusive deals, including at least 25 percent off more than 100 offers. Top deals include:

  • 60 percent off select movie titles
  • 40 percent off select multi-piece bakeware sets

30 percent off board game favorites “

Target’s Cartwheel app has been one of the easiest ways to save money while shopping. But this year they are making Black Friday deals even better and more competitive with other retailers by offering their sales throughout most of November. The CEO of Target, Brian Cornell, was quoted by CBS News explaining how they came about designing their holiday deals this year.

“We know that as we look at the holiday season, the consumer, the shopper, our guest, wants to be out there. So as we looked at our strategy, we started with, what is the consumer looking for? And they told us they actually like to shop at the end of the day. Some of them actually don’t like to get up real early on Black Friday morning,” -Cornell to CBS News

What do you think? Does this make shopping at Target this holiday season more appealing than other stores since you won’t have to beat the crowd on Black Friday?

 

By: Kelli Hall, Stephanie Jordan, Morgan McCleaf, Shawn Rause, and Danielle Walters

Photo Credit

Are you Prime this Holiday Season?

With the holiday season quickly approaching, savvy shoppers look for the best deals possible. Every Thanksgiving, shoppers wait in anticipation for a weekend full of frantic purchasing during Black Friday and the following Cyber Monday. This year, many online stores have opened their “doors” early to let people start shopping before the rush. Stores are also using incentive marketing to draw attention to their products during the busy shopping season. Incentive marketing is when companies use motivational items, such as promotional prices, to encourage consumers to purchase their product. This year, Amazon has taken advantage of incentive marketing by releasing a special ‘Prime Early Access Deal’ to members with Amazon Prime accounts.

Earlier this month, Amazon started allowing their Prime members to access select lightning deals before any other shoppers. Lightning deals are special discounts that are only offered for a limited amount of time. This gives every Prime member a jump-start on saving money and it gives non-Prime members another reason to create an account. Some other benefits of Amazon Prime include, free 2-day shipping, access to thousands of free movies and tv shows, access to more than 1,000,000 free Prime Music selections, and now early access to select lightning deals. The first 30 days of a Prime membership is free and then after that it’s just $99 per year. New lightning deals are being posted every day, but they appear to be getting better and better as Thanksgiving approaches.

amazon-prime-early-accessPrime members also have access to early shopping at MyHabit.com, which was founded by Amazon.com. MyHabit.com is a free, members only, online fashion website where you can earn up to 60% off on designer clothes. While this website is known for their good deals year round, they are offering even more deals through the end of Thanksgiving weekend. On a daily basis, deals are posted on MyHabit.com at 9am, but now, Amazon Prime members can access these bargains early, starting at 8:30am.

By using incentives during the holiday season, Amazon will gain new members that will stay loyal for the rest of the year. People will see that signing up for Amazon Prime has added benefits and they won’t want to miss out. Some of these new members will choose to keep their membership, while others will simply forget to cancel it after the free 30-day trial period ends. Either way, Amazon will have added many new Prime members after this holiday season. So whether you become a member for the holiday lightning deals or for the year-long benefits, Amazon has successfully found a way to reel in new members through their incentive marketing strategy.

- Hannah Rodgers

Holidays of Shopping

With the holiday season coming up, are you more excited about turkey or sales?  Black Friday deals attract customers in mass numbers every year. In order to keep that excitement going, Wal-Mart promotes “rollbacks” the whole week starting November 21st. “It used to be called Black Friday, and then it became Thursday, now it’s a week long,” said Wal-Mart U.S. chief merchant Duncan Mac Naughton last week. “Maybe we should just call it November.” Wal-Mart’s marketing strategies not only include longer windows of deals, but also price matching, online sales, more staff, and e-commerce in order to take full advantage of the Black Friday madness. Walmart has even added signs to the registers advertising that they will have more lanes open than ever from Thanksgiving until Christmas.

George Gerbner developed the idea of Cultivation Theory. This states that the way that we view our world is influenced significantly through what we watch on TV. Wal-Mart as well as other companies have been broadcasting commercials showing Black Friday sales, Black Thursday sales, and even more recently, sales that last the whole week long. This is cultivating our minds and making us feel like everyone around us is doing these extreme sales thus making us feel the need to shop this much in advance.

Another component to Gerbner’s cultivation theory is resonance. This means that the more times we see something, the more likely it will stick in our minds, and perhaps influence us to do something or believe that something is true. Wal-Mart has been on a Black Friday commercial spree using celebrities such as Anthony Anderson and Melissa Joan Hart on almost every other commercial to influence buyers to do their Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart. This strategy Wal-mart is used to try to resonate in people’s mind that their store is the right choice because the celebrities in the commercials think so too.

Due to the fact that television is a huge part of our society’s lifestyle, do you think that the numerous amount of commercial’s Walmart are using are making people want to do their holiday shopping there?

-Margaret Cafasso, Kierstin Geary, Connor Gold, Olivia Sadler, Hannah Zeskind

North Carolina: From the Mountains to the Sea

Every year millions of people travel long and far to get a piece of the North Carolina experience. The Carolina culture has deep roots in vinegar based BBQ, cotton and tobacco production, and more recently, is becoming a center for research and industry. The great Tar Heel state is home to highly esteemed universities, beautiful mountains, charming cities, and the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast. Tourism in North Carolina has been on the rise and continues to flourish.

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According to a 2013 study prepared for the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film, and Sports Development, domestic and international travelers spent almost $21.0 billion on transportation, lodging, food, entertainment, recreation, and retail trade. This is an increase compared to previous years, 2014’s forecast projected even higher. North Carolina is home to many great places to visit including the Biltmore Estate, Blue Ridge Parkway, Old Salem, historic lighthouses, and over 300 miles of incredible beaches. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, North Carolina’s capital city, Raleigh, has continually been rated as one of the best cities to live in.

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On a local level, Wilmington and the surrounding area offers an array of attractions from Screen Gem Studio tours to eating lunch on the pier at the Oceanic. Recently, US Today ranked Wilmington as the Best American Riverfront due to the amount of cafes, bars, and shops as well as close proximity to many historic museums and landmarks including the USS North Carolina. According to the Attraction-Selection-Attrition framework, “the people make the place.” The people of North Carolina bring charm to the state and create a large part of the culture. As a student of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, I am proud to call this amazing place home. Wilmington and the state of North Carolina exemplify southern hospitality, good eats, and a rich culture. So, what’s your favorite part about North Carolina?

- Anderson McNaull

Bojangles: A North Carolina Icon

The year was 1977 and in Charlotte N.C. fried chicken would be changed forever by the Bojangles Founders, Jack Fulk and Richard Thomas. With the introduction of their Cajun-style chicken and scratch made biscuits, people began to crave this irresistible duo and now, thirty years later Bojangles has spread across the region but the recipe nor the cravings have changed.

Over the years, Bojangles has done a phenomenal job of promoting themselves through community involvement, quality advertisements, and hard to resist promos, coupons, and deals. Despite having over 600 restaurants, they attempt to remain local and active in each of their locations. This has allowed them to expand at a rapid rate while becoming a respected and credible fast food chain. One of their most popular promotions is the E-club which began in 2008. All you have to do is fill out your information on their website and you will receive a free biscuit with any purchase along with coupons on your birthday and a free Bo-Berry biscuit when you refer a friend. Simple deals like this encourage a long term customer relationship while also using free word-of-mouth advertising by their customers.

Bojangles has created a niche market in the quick service food industry by offering food and service that their competition cannot compete with. Their menu is large and unique, with everything from country ham and pinto beans to garden salads and sweet potato pie. They promise food made fresh every day and biscuits made every twenty minutes. While other fast food chains focus on quantity and quickness, Bojangles has taken a tip from the South by taking their time and catering to their customers. A niche market can be defined as a business that addressed the need of a product or service not already available. Being local N.C. residents, the founders pride themselves on the quality of their food and the southern hospitality that comes with it. They realized they had a market for their cajun-style cooking and found a way to connect with the community through their irresistible chicken and biscuits.

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Bojangles has repeatedly marketed to North Carolina residents in the past. Jake Delhomme would pop in on our television sets at halftime of the Panthers games to tell us how much he loved Bojangles. Scotty McCreery comes on to serenade us with his Bojangles song–which has become just as well-known as some of his actual work. One thing that everyone in North Carolina loves–college basketball. Bojangles has recognized this by offering two sausage biscuits for a dollar at any North Carolina restaurant after the Tar Heels top 100 points.

Because of the success of Bojangles and the exclusive experience they offer to customers, they were recognized as the #1 restaurant franchise in the chicken category by Entrepreneur Magazine in 2007, named one of only eight restaurant franchises as an elite performer by the Wall Street Times and in 2011, Zagat Survey listed Bojangles’ in the Top 5 Fast Food, Large Chains.

Bojangles has created a niche of fans that crave their fresh made food and are willing to talk about Bojangles anywhere they are, which is the main reason for success.  When this niche hears fried chicken they immediately think of Bojangles and by being unforgettable for their quality food and southern hospitality service you can be sure Bojangles isn’t going anywhere and the only place to go is up.

Brandon Hawkins, Bobby Huckabee, SavannaMitchell, Tony Mangili, Danielle Salas

Are We Still the Hollywood of the East?

What do Jennifer Lawrence, Will Ferrell, and Nicholas Sparks all have in common? Other than being well-known in the film industry, they have all brought their talents to North Carolina. The state of North Carolina, specifically Wilmington, has been the home of over 130 feature films not including television shows. Some of these films include Iron Man 3, A Walk to Remember, We’re the Millers, and Safe Haven. North Carolina is called “Hollywood of the East,” offering a variety of environments, from the mountains to the beach to city and the country, the state provides many location and scenery options for productions to take place. Another thing that was attractive to directors and producers was the NC Film Incentive.

Just the word “incentive” shows that there is something special about filming in North Carolina that would be beneficial to any production. But what is happening to the NC Film Incentive? The NC Film incentives are currently changing from a rebate to more of a grant, with rules that are still somewhat undefined. WRAL.com says that “North Carolina’s film tax credit program will expire on Dec. 31, 2014. Lawmakers have replaced it with a grant program that currently has $10 million available for the first six months of 2015.” The incentives will then have to compete with other important state projects, like school changes and road construction. This $10 million is receiving a lot of scrutiny considering the fact that there was over $61 million claimed in 2013.

Offering supportive data in keeping the incentives as they were, a study conducted by North Carolina State University was done to see how much the film and television industry helps the state. They found that the state does in fact make their money back. “For every $1 spent in film and television credits, the film and television industry generated $1.52 of tax revenue and $9.10 of direct spending.” 

The impact that the film and television industry has on our state seems to be somewhat overlooked. There are more people affected by the presence of the film industry than just producers and directors. Catering, transportation, and local businesses in general are largely impacted by productions choosing North Carolina as a temporary home.

Without the large incentives, do you think we’ll be able to continue marketing North Carolina as a prime filming location to keep the projects coming?

By: Kelli Hall, Stephanie Jordan, Morgan McCleaf, Shawn Rause, and Danielle Walters

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