I’ve had my fair share of Black Friday extravaganza from both sides of the playing field. I’ve never been one to camp out overnight or get up at 3 a.m., but I have braved the madness a few times to help other people shop and get a few good deals.
The last two years, though, I worked at American Eagle Outfitters on Black Friday. Last year I worked at the store in the Castleton Square Mall which is one of the largest malls in Indiana with one of the highest traffic and income ratings (along with theft, but that is irrelevant to this specifically) in Indiana malls. This year I worked at the American Eagle store at the Hamilton Town Center in Noblesville. It was a drastic difference just in general from consumer demographics and psychographics between the stores, but the difference on Black Friday was also very evident.
The main customer base in the Noblesville area for AEO are more white collar workers located in the upper middle class whereas many customers in the Castleton area market tend to be affiliated with the working and middle class. The Noblesville store also seemed to have less ethnic diversity than the Castleton area. At both stores the customer base was mainly moms and men and women generally from the ages of 13-40. Psychographics including lifestyles and personality are much different between the stores as well. Both stores have their share of irate customers, but the people at the Noblesville store tend to usually be friendlier to the employees. This may be due to the fact that my new store has less traffic meaning more focus on each individual customer for our sales team, but the difference is definitely evident.
Another major difference between stores is the reaction the customers have to sales, promotions, and deals. It’s my impression that this is due to the differences in their lifestyles and personalities. Customers at the Castleton store love deals and sales and will eat it up all day. American Eagle credit card activations are also much more prominent with that customer base. They are focused on getting bargains and the best deal. The Noblesville store shoppers are more focused on fashion and their wardrobe. The average dollar sale is much higher and parents here will easily drop a few hundred dollars on their children on each trip (especially for back to school). This is why I think the Black Friday sale did not attract many extra shoppers to our store that day. Barely any shoppers came out specifically for our sale (it was just an added bonus for many). All-in-all it was an alright Black Friday and AEO does very well financially as the second highest outfitter in the U.S., but they need to figure out different promotions and focuses for the different psychographics and demographics of customers they have depending on each store.