black friday

*Across the U.S. people are making lists and preparations for that most sacred of shopping days: Black Friday.

The day after Thanksgiving has become the unofficial starting line for shoppers looking to find a good deal for the holidays.

The day rewards shoppers who are willing to do a little research, get up extra early and stand in line for an opportunity to snag discounts. But the rewards don’t just stop with shoppers.

\Black Friday is also a boost for the overall economy by adding jobs and helping retailers balance their books before the calendar year ends. The statistics add up to a simple fact: When Black Friday succeeds, everyone benefits.

It’s Good for (Smart) Consumers

Black Friday started as a way for stores to lure shoppers out of the their turkey-induced comas for a day of retail spending. It has since become an unofficial holiday, in large part because stores generally do deliver on their promise of discounted merchandise. If you need a 55-inch LCD TV for your living room, there are an array of stores willing to sell one to you for much cheaper than you would pay the day before Thanksgiving. There are strategies for smart Black Friday shopping. The trick is knowing just how good of a deal you are getting given the quality of the product. Quick access to reviews and price comparisons make shoppers Black Friday experts. The only kind of shopper who doesn’t benefit is the one who shows up without a plan and just starts grabbing anything that seems like a good deal.

It’s Good for (Smart) Retailers

Not only is Black Friday good for a retailer’s bottom line, it can also have a positive effect on the relationship with customers. This is especially true of trusted specialty stores, like Cabela’s, that don’t see Black Friday as just an opportunity to sell goods, but as a celebration of the outdoorsmen lifestyle. Cabela’s doesn’t just offer deals and rebates on a wide selection of hunting, fishing and camping gear, it also has prize giveaways, games for kids and special events throughout the day. Retailers who take the celebration approach to Black Friday tend to not only show good receipts at the end of the day, but also create a customer base that is much more likely to stick around even after the Christmas decorations are back in the attic.

It’s Good for the Overall Economy

There is some argument about the origin of the term Black Friday but one common explanation is that it got the name from retailers who saw the sudden boost in sales as an opportunity to get their yearly sales numbers “out of the red” and “into the black.” The economy, in general, counts on the last few months of the year to make up for slow sales through the rest of the year. Black Friday is a sustaining force for many small businesses but it’s not make or break. The increased demand created by Black Friday also allows stores to hire more workers, which puts extra money back into the average person’s pocket. And that’s the gift that just keeps giving.