November 22, 2012
Ronald Friedman, Co-Leader, Retail/Consumer Products Industry Group, Quoted in Christian Science Monitor Article "Black Friday: Boutiques Open at Midnight? How 'Little Guys' Try to Compete"
By Daniel B. Wood
From midnight on Thanksgiving night until 3 a.m., Julia Dvir's store, "The Closet," will further discount her jewelry, hats, belts, and purses (already 40-60 percent off). Located just 80 yards up the Fashion Square Mall from Macy's, the boutique is trying to take advantage of people who will be lined up to shop at the national retailer. At the other end of the mall, S.Y.L.K, another women's fashion retailer just outside Bloomingdales, also is opening at midnight, with the hope that shoppers on the prowl for Black Friday deals at the much larger store will look up and see them as well.
Experts on retail marketing say the competition between small and large stores can be beneficial to consumers who know what they are doing, but not all that compelling for the unaware or impulse buyer.
Further, small or unique retailers should also be wary of competing on the same terms as the giant retailers, and instead focus on their own strengths, the experts say.
"Specialty stores should not try to compete with big box retailers and department stores," says Ron Friedman, a senior retail analyst at the New York-based accounting firm Marcum, LLP.
"They need to realize and concentrate on what they do that is unique and can’t be gotten elsewhere – such as creative, non-mass-produced products, great quality service and personal attention."
And the consumer, he says, needs to do his or her homework before wandering out into a mall.
"Buyers should go online ahead of time to know what are the prices of what they want and be prepared," says Mr. Friedman. "Some might find they can get wanted items just as cheaply – or more so – online."