Traditionally, Black Friday sales have resulted in long lines, unruly crowds and even the occasional in-store brawl. But given the ongoing supply chain delays and store closures they’re experiencing, many retailers and toycos are taking a new approach to the shopping event this year, turning to digital to address the current uncertainty and still draw crowds.
Hasbro hosted its first-ever virtual shopping experience in an effort to connect with consumers ahead of Black Friday. The Hasbro Holiday Shopping Live event was live-streamed via the toyco’s Instagram/Facebook pages and Hasbro Microsite e-store on November 12, providing viewers with an up-close look at its holiday offerings.
Throughout the event, viewers could conveniently browse and purchase Hasbro toys and games directly on the microsite through shoppable tags. And the stunt was also designed to offer a more dynamic experience than simply looking at photos on a website because its video content let consumers see the products—including My Little Pony: A New Generation Sing ‘N Skate Sunny Starscout and the Disney Princess Ultimate Celebration Castle—in action.
Spin Master has partnered with Poplar Studio to create an augmented reality app for Facebook that’s designed to help consumers visualize what PAW Patrol toys will look like at home before they make a decision to purchase them.
After scanning an area in their homes, consumers are able to see exactly how much space the Ultimate City Tower and Marshall’s Transforming Fire Truck will take up, and they can even activate lights, sounds and transformations that are true to the actual toys. If this experiment is successful, the Spin team told Kidscreen it could be open to offering this experience for all of its brands.
The early bird
Even the retailers sticking to more traditional Black Friday shopping events are making changes this year, launching sales earlier than usual and putting more focus on digital deals for toys and electronics. In terms of timing, Amazon unveiled gift guides and its first Black Friday deals on October 4, Target’s Holiday Best sales event started on October 31, and Walmart launched its Black Friday Deals for Days initiative on November 1.
These earlier kick-offs are meant to accommodate a growing consumer desire to start shopping sooner, and the shift to digital meets them where they’re already shopping. More than half of Americans began shopping for the holidays earlier this year to take advantage of deals, according to the National Retail Federation. And research from Adobe Analytics found that online spending on Black Friday in 2020 grew by 22% to US$9 billion, putting it in the same league as the digitally focused Cyber Monday event. This year, NRF anticipates two million more people will make purchases during the Black Friday weekend than in 2020.