Black Friday proves that (low) price really can be delightful. Will retailer greed kill a good thing?


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Most of the discussion around a delightful Customer Experience (CX) has been about company-customer interactions. Like the unusually great customer service you get from Zappos.

Of course, some companies are able to dazzle us with their products. Like Apple with the iPhone and iPad.

But price? Price is usually denigrated as a strategy for losers who can’t figure out how to improve products or services. Unless you’re Amazon or Walmart, in which case low price is the core business strategy.

Well, having just done Black Friday shopping for the first time in many years, I’m here to tell you that getting a great deal is a lot of fun. Delightful, even.

My wife and I went to the malls to visit a few stores. In one furniture store, we picked up a nice accent chair at a “doorbuster” price far below what even the discount chains (e.g. Target) were offering. That opened our wallets (credit cards, actually) to pick up a few more items that were good values, but not discounted.

We liked the quality of the products at the store (Living Spaces, in case you were wondering) and customer service that was helpful, not pushy. They made a point to mention they were non-commissioned, but still seemed motivated to help. Furniture was scheduled to be delivered the next day, which was also a surprise.

One glitch — delays at the checkout — was offset when clerk offered a chocolate chip cookie and coffee. Nicely played. We eventually left without a receipt when they promised to email it later. (Receipt arrived a couple of hours later.)

Overall, though, we left feeling delighted about the experience because we got a great deal compared to what we had expected to spend. So when you think about strategies for delight, don’t forget price. Just don’t use it all the time, because the novelty will wear off, and low price will become expected (just like your low margins).

One problem: Black Friday was followed by Cyber Monday. And now shopping earlier on Thursday is becoming the norm. Where will it stop? Why not the whole week? Or month?

If retailers don’t know when to say “when,” the opportunity to delight will fade. And then we can just stay home and go shopping for a great deal anytime. Or not.


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