Thursday, November 15, 2012

Let's Learn Some Business English - Black Friday Special!

Black Friday is coming.  Stores hope
that you will "Shop 'til you drop!"
In other words, shop so much you
are so tired you're ready to drop (fall down
from exhaustion -- but only AFTER
you've paid for your purchases!).
Next Friday is the day after Thanksgiving. It's not just a day to digest all the turkey, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce you just "pigged out on" the day before. It's also a day to go shopping (or "hit the mall" as Americans say!). In fact, it is the official start of the Christmas shopping season. The day is called "Black Friday." Why black? Some say it's because it's the day when retailers start to see a profit -- and seeing a profit is also called being "in the black" (versus "in the red" which means one is losing money).

To attract shoppers to the stores, many stores advertise "Black Friday specials." These specials are often referred to as "door busters."They are items on good sale used to attract the attention of customers (and then once the customer is in the store for their $99 LED TV or $9 toaster, the hope is that they will for more things at the store to buy).

The Wall Street Journal ran an article today about Black Friday. Let's examine a piece of this article, which is entitled "Stores Bring Black Friday to the Web." Idioms and expressions we'll discuss are highlighted.

As retailers gear up for the traditional shop-fest known as Black Friday, they are focusing on the mobs that line up outside stores and—increasingly—on the masses that shop online from home. 

Chain stores prefer impulse-purchase-prone store shoppers. Yet sales growth during the busy Thanksgiving weekend more often is coming from Internet shoppers like Melanie Cortese. Going to Woodbridge Center Mall with her mom on Black Friday was a family tradition for Ms. Cortese, a 37-year-old New Jersey mother of two. But no longer: she plans to go to bed on Thanksgiving night with a laptop nearby and wake up on Back Friday to shop online instead...

… Retailers can't turn their back on shoppers who like to go to the stores. For example, Brookstone sells technology items that need salespeople to demonstrate the products and let shoppers play with them, said Chief Executive Stephen Bebis. 

And while customers flock to the super-discounts, which for the retailers are often loss leaders, a lot of full-price selling also occurs on the day, retailers say. "It is one of our most profitable days," said, Jim Kunihiro, chief marketing officer for Sears Holdings Corp. Like many retailers seeking to get the jump on their competitors, Sears is opening for the first time on Thanksgiving Day for a first round of door busters at 8 p.m., followed by another round of special discounts at 4 a.m. Friday.


Wow, there is lots of interesting vocabulary for us to examine:

(to) gear up - to prepare for; to get ready for

mobs - crowds of people. Note: this is a noun; there is also the popular adjective form: mobbed, as in "The mall was mobbed. We couldn't wait to get out of there!"

impulse purchase - also called an impulse buy. A purchase that was not planned beforehand, but that was made at the store right before the purchase. Note: one who makes these type of purchases is called an impulse buyer. These people are good for stores, who are good at attracting them with displays designed to tempt.

(to) turn one's back on - to not pay attention to someone; to not offer service to someone. Of course, retailers can't turn their back on shoppers who like to go to stores. Even though shopping online increases every Black Friday, 60% of sales were still made in stores, according to the Wall Street Journal article.

(to) flock to - to come in great numbers (originates from "flock," a large gathering of animals. Shall we point out that many shoppers gathered together in enclosed spaces can sometimes start behaving like animals?!).

loss leaders - goods sold at near or below cost. The retailer will not a profit on these items, but they are designed to attract customers to the store. Once in the store, the retailer hopes the customers will find additional stuff to buy.

(to) get the jump on - to start doing something before others (usually to get some kind of advantage)

door busters - the type of low-cost items that customers practically bust (break) the door of the store to get their hands on! See more details above.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! 

1 comment:

OksanaOd said...

Thanks for "mob" and "loss leaders" explanations.