Over the past few years, Black Friday has been receiving a negative spin from the media and general population. One of the big questions on the table for 2013 is how people feel about stores starting Black Friday early and opening the doors for deals and doorbusters on Thanksgiving day (also known as "Gray Thursday"). Although a lot of the population and workers have protested Thanksgiving day shopping, it hasn't stopped them from going out and shopping. An article published this week by the LA times titled "Retailers try to put positive spin on their creep into Thanksgiving" shows that Thanksgiving shopping numbers are on the rise. When retailers opened on Thanksgiving last year, workers protested outside stores and holiday purists grumbled online -- a distracting sideshow in what ultimately proved to be a less-than-robust sales season. Still, 35 million Americans showed up at shops and on websites, a 21% increase from the holiday turnout in 2011.
Other things that have been frowned upon recently for Black Friday are tragic acts of violence costing the lives of others, large crowds gone chaotic and items running out of stock too quickly. Many questions have been raised about safety and the satisfaction of shoppers. Other consumers are opting out of shopping on Black Friday completely. Are shoppers really becoming less pleased with their experiences on Black Friday? How will retailers address these issues in the future? Surveys are conducted every year on Black Friday often after the fact trying to measure shopping behaviors and trends. Highlights from 2012 and predictions for 2013 have been released on thousands of blogs/publications and are trending both in the news and through social media channels. A controversial article released from Venture Beat claims half of US consumers are skipping Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the entire manufactured shopping orgy.
Using mobile technology on Black Friday presents the opportunity to collect new forms of data that have not been collected in past studies. Using the SurveySwipe mobile app to connect with Black Friday shoppers presents us with an opportunity to capture more accurate data in real-time from real places. We are able to see the location in which survey responses come from to verify that people taking the survey are actually out shopping. Pictures are worth 1,000 words and can be very valuable to research. SurveySwipe can capture multimedia during mobile surveys giving a more interactive user experience. Respondents will also be asked to take or upload photos of the store they are at or an item they purchased during their Black Friday 2013 shopping experience. In online surveys completed after the experience many results are often skewed due to the fact of recall and people forming selective memories. With mobile surveys you have a better chance of capturing people in-the-moment and at the actual point of emotion for a more honest and accurate answer. Mobile surveys present the opportunity to increase customer satisfaction by quickly drawing any concerns and guiding your priorities of items to act on.