November’s Black Friday has been has been around for decades, but it’s only recently that it became the crazed shopping event resulting in deaths due to shopper stampedes. Online retailers invented Cyber Monday to bring some of the hype associated with brick-and-mortar retail locations to the internet. Don’t get me wrong; both “holidays” provide opportunities for discounts, but I can do without the ever-increasing marketing.
Teen Vogue wants to take advantage of the shopping holiday trend. Advertisers who pay more money to Teen Vogue for advertising will be allowed to participate in “Back-to-School Saturday” on August 11. Participating stores will on this day offer free samples and events, but there is no indication that the day will include any bargains. The retailers participating include many of the most popular brands among this demographic, like Aéropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Cover Girl, and Tampax. Like all other spending holidays, this will be great for retailers, but not very worthwhile for consumers from a money management perspective.
If a sales tax holiday is a temporary reprieve from paying sales tax, a shopping holiday should be a temporary reprieve from buying products. Instead, there’s an increasing number of special events centered around spending money. That’s a great benefit to retailers, not to customers, despite occasional good deals.
For instance, American Express launched its Small Business Saturday campaign last year. On the surface, it seems geared towards helping “Main Street” recover by drawing focus to local stores rather than national branches. The deals, however, are restricted only to people who use their American Express credit cards. Many retailers don’t accept American Express cards because the fees for processing have traditionally been higher than standard MasterCard and Visa fees. By requiring the use of its own cards, American Express forces retailers to pay the AmEx interchange fees, resulting in a nice profit for American Express.
From a retailer’s perspective, the idea is groundbreaking. Take the popular idea of event-based shopping and bring it to one of the most powerful consumer demographics: teenagers and parents of teenagers who want their children to have everything all of their children’s peers have in the fear that not to have the same things would deem their children an outcast. Retailers need to pay a cover charge to Teen Vogue to participate, but the fee will likely prove to be worthwhile.
From a consumer perspective, there’s nothing to this even other than yet another opportunity to spend more money than necessary. Will you participate in Back-to-School Saturday?
Here’s some video insight into marketing the “extruded plastic dingus” to children.
Published or updated May 31, 2012.