It’s nothing new for a business to hold Memorial Day Sales. However, Old Navy took it beyond the usual __% off storewide and advertised Flip Flops for just $1 – Saturday May 23rd only. $1 when they’re usually $3.50!
Big deal, right?
In today’s economy, it is a big deal. Such a big deal that when my usually empty local Old Navy opened at 10AM, it was swarmed with bargain-hunting customers. By 10:15, with all 8 registers open, the lines went all the way to the back of the store. There was a sea of shoppers grabbing at whatever colors and sizes employees on ladders tossed down at them.
One little girl came out of the crowd saying, “I almost got trampled! Some woman stepped on me and pushed me out of the way to get a size 9!”
With a limit of 5 pair per shopper, mothers brought kids and husbands along to take advantage. One woman on a cell phone asked her sister what colors and sizes she needed saying, “They’re almost sold out, so tell me what you need because they aren’t going to be this cheap again any time soon!”
By 10:20 most of the colors were sold out. Shoppers were so desperate to take advantage of the low price, they were settling for a larger size just to get the color they wanted.
Despite a handful of shoppers getting carried away in “the pit,” the mood in line was pleasant and just about everyone was friendly to those next to them. When one woman gushed over a shirt out of arms reach, another woman behind her said, “If you want to look at that shirt, I will hold your place in line.”
There was an hour wait from the back of the line to the register. Employees made it easier by walking around playing games and handing out prizes. They also gave out shopping bags to hold the armfuls of Flip Flops, and extra merchandise customers picked up. It truly was an event!
This just goes to show that by advertising even one small thing at a ridiculously low price, they will come! If you create a sense of urgency (One Day Only!) they will come in droves! Who really needs five pair of Flip Flops?
While you can argue that a majority of those in line were only buying Flip Flops, there was an impressive amount of shoppers that purchased above and beyond. People that normally wouldn’t be at a mall at 10AM – on a beautiful Saturday – during a holiday weekend.
In a time when so many businesses have their guard up to protect profits, those being creative and taking chances are benefiting. (Denny’s free breakfast, anyone?) What an interesting time for businesses to brainstorm ways to bring shoppers into their stores (and hey, that makes it a great time to be a customer too).