Many retailers offer added incentives to get Black Friday customers in store

Thanksgiving means the holiday rush is in full swing.

From our roads, to airports, and malls, many places will be packed with people.

When it comes to shopping, experts predict an increase in online purchases.

So how are retailers and local businesses competing for customers?

Black Friday shopping is like the big game day for retailers. One tactic they use to get people through the doors is starting sales earlier.

“Retailers know that all the shoppers have a limited budget, so what they are doing is they are trying to get them a little earlier,” explained Tina Yamaki, Retail Merchants of Hawaii president.

Yamaki says another way retailers compete with Cyber Monday is by offering doorbusters for the early birds.

“They are providing in-store specials like the first 50 people get an iPad or get an extra 10-percent off coupon that day,” she said.

Yamaki says one service online shopping could never provide is instant gratification.

“If you buy it in a store, if you wanted to buy a big screen TV, you can go on Thanksgiving Day, buy that TV, go home, and half an hour have it all hooked up and start watching the football game,” she said.

There are some businesses that do both. You can buy your merchandise online and have the option to pick it up at the store.

“For the customers that can’t make it to our boutique, we have an online store,” said Kia Tatiana, Lily Lotus retail manager. “That’s also how we compete with online stores too because we have our own.”

“They are doing what is called an omnichannel, so you can buy it online, you can pick it up in store, maybe get a $5 coupon or gift with purchase or something like that,” Yamaki said.

Yamaki tells us small, local businesses rely heavily on customer service to keep shoppers coming back.

“Small business is really strong in Hawaii,” she said. “They also have things where you can’t buy it online. You can’t get it at a department store. You have to go see them. … When you are shopping locally, you are supporting your friends, your family, your neighbors.”

Yamaki has also found that a lot of customers who shop on-line tend to return what they bought.

“If you see it online, you don’t know if it’s going to fit, what is the quality, you know that type of stuff,” she said. “When you go into the store, you know what you are getting.”

Yamaki says make sure you know the refund policy before you make a purchase. Some stores change their policy during the holidays.

Sometimes you get extra time to return your merchandise. Other times, it’s all sales final.

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