Home Depot claims Black Friday for its own

Discussion
Apr 21, 2015

While the vast majority of retailers bank on a solid Christmas holiday selling season to help make their years, things are a bit different for home improvement chains. DIY chains also look to the spring to boost sales as Americans go about working on their homes and yards with the improving weather. A case is point is Home Depot, which first launched its "Spring Black Friday" event six years ago and this year is carrying the analogy a step further with its first ever "Cyber Week" promotion.

"We had a great response on our traditional Cyber Week events," Kevin Hofmann, Home Depot’s president of online operations, told Bloomberg. "That triggered us to say Thanksgiving time isn’t the only time customers want a deal, so let’s extend it into our peak selling season."

Similarly to the winter season’s Cyber Monday and weeklong events, Home Depot is offering up special online daily deals like 50 percent off on select flooring, rugs and tools. The sale began on Sunday.

While trying to drum up excitement for its spring versions of Christmas sales, Home Depot has to contend with terms that have become cliché. The growth of "Christmas in July" promotions are often cited by retail industry experts as bandwagon marketing at its worst.

Will tagging spring sales events as “Black Friday” and “Cyber Week” result in higher sales for Home Depot than typical spring promotions? What are the pros and cons of echoing Christmas sale jargon throughout the year?

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15 Comments on "Home Depot claims Black Friday for its own"

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Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

Using the promotional names normally associated with Christmas might work twice a year but should they be overused they will lose their effectiveness. My expectation is that other retailers will say, if it works for them then it will work for us (some already do), and once the promotions are ubiquitous they will have no value for anyone with the possible exception of their original dates. Black Friday has already become gray Thursday.

Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

I saw this a few days ago while visiting the Home Depot site. It seems clever and may be eye catching for some folks out there. Beyond that, who knows how effective it is unless they release validated sales numbers.

To me, it’s a campaign amongst many with some first-mover props for using the “Black Friday” and “Cyber Week” terms in a new way.

Max Goldberg
BrainTrust

I think it’s a mistake for Home Depot to use names for Christmas sales for its spring promotions. Couldn’t its marketing department come up with a more creative idea? Many consumers are still paying off Christmas purchases and are tired of winter. Why not create a new, spring-themed holiday to celebrate the new season? Especially when this past winter was so brutal in much of the country.

Tom Redd
Guest

Who cares—really—about what Home Depot calls it? Spring is the time for a majority of real home maintainers like me to re-stock and attack indoor and outdoor projects. If Home Depot really pushes some good promotions then the numbers will be very positive for them. As the Millennial crowd ages and takes on real responsibility like home maintenance vs. texting, the Spring promo will become more and more popular.

Analyze all you want—I will be picking up lumber, paint, more tools and maybe even a new nail gun! Nothing more fun then working on things with a nail gun.

Kelly Tackett
BrainTrust

Hasn’t Home Depot annualized this promotion over the last five years (or more)? It likely is too late for the company to backtrack on its lack of creativity in naming the event years ago, given that it does have some recognition/awareness with shoppers.

Still, there’s just no excuse for the creation of Cyber Week.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

Although the term “Black Friday” may be overused, in the context of Home Depot and other retailers in which their peak seasons are not Thanksgiving or Christmas, the concept appears to resonate with their customers. The only con is the term may be getting tired. The challenge is to develop a spring-like concept that spring- and summer-oriented retailers can use. How about “Green Thursday” or “Summer Saturday”?

Mark Heckman
BrainTrust

I’m sure the rationale for using existing promotional names was quick recognition and capturing any cachet those promotions have to underscore the values Home Depot was offering in the spring. There is a risk, however, of diluting the “specialness” of those holiday promotions by using them repeatedly throughout the year.

Anecdotally, I am reminded of one of my former bosses marveling at the sales results of a deeply-discounted, very costly “Weekend Specials” promotion and saying to me with sincerity, “We should do that every weekend!”

Of course we couldn’t afford that type of promotion every weekend, and it would no longer be special for the shopper if we did. There are only so many special promotions a retailer can truly support each year monetarily. More importantly, if there are too many specials they no longer will appear special to the shopper and their impact will diminish accordingly.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

Since it’s a spring event, wouldn’t they have been better off calling it “Green Friday” which they could have owned? Just asking …

Nikki Baird
BrainTrust

I mean, I can understand that spring—with spring cleaning, gardening, tax refunds giving people some extra cash to tackle that house project, etc.,—can be almost as big for home improvement as the winter holiday season. But I really hate this kind of marketing. If you’re going to try to create a holiday around this time of year, why not really own it? Make it something uniquely yours.

Yeah it takes a little more investment to educate consumers, but in the long run isn’t that more worth it than trotting out tired old Black Friday when everyone is least in the mood to think about all of the holiday stress that comes with it?

The Black Friday promo, spring or summer, just underscores for me how oversold the whole thing is—and reduces its impact even more when its own time actually does roll around in November.

Anne Howe
BrainTrust

Lowe’s is already using the spring Black Friday theme, it’s just not ownable. Use of seasonal terms by retailers is boring. lacks any creativity and really needs some reinvention. Cyber Week? Come on. For consumers with any kind of smart device, every week is Cyber Week.

David Zahn
Guest

My thinking aligns with those who express that this is an opportunity lost by not claiming it as their own with a spring-themed promotional name. Additionally, the idea of wearing out the specialness of Black Friday/Cyber Week as just another promotion is a concern.

It does not compel me to make Home Depot a destination this week any more than any other week. Perhaps, unlike Tom Redd, the idea of nail guns, lumber and paint represent frustration and chores more than fun and specialness (and that may be tainting my view).

Mark Burr
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

Black Friday now further becomes a term without any sort of value. In the holiday season it has become Black Tuesday, Black Wednesday, Black Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Furthermore, as retailers continue to train consumers that it is meaningless, it really doesn’t matter if you drag it out in the spring or not.

Who would have thought a retailer could further diminish this term even more so in the spring!

There should be someone in each retailer that sits in the room where these concepts are brought up who is completely able to just say, “What the heck are you thinking?” But then again, the retailer would do it anyway.

Ed Rosenbaum
BrainTrust

Call it whatever they want. It is a good promotion and will be successful, especially with the home DIY folks. The professional repair people are there every week, if not close to daily. They will also benefit.

Kai Clarke
BrainTrust

Yes. These are great promotions any time of year. Home Depot has recognized this, and their sales in the spring will support these efforts. Using the same jargon will only make it easier for consumers to understand what the promotion is about.

Verlin Youd
BrainTrust

In reality, this will probably not result in higher sales for Home Depot, as their primary competitors, and some secondary competitors, are doing the same thing. Lowe’s has been focused on “100 Days of Spring” for several years and players like Walmart and even grocery stores are getting in on the action. My local Harris Teeter is running promotions on plants, patio furniture, grills, and landscaping products.

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