Observations from Black Friday, including an in-store fee!

Hope you’re enjoying Black Friday and have gotten some amazing deals if you’re shopping (whether it’s in-store, online, or both)!

In my last post yesterday, I mentioned a retailer that is still charging an in-store fee, and why it probably is hindering business.  (At least, that’s what I originally thought until looking into it a bit further).  The retailer is Michaels, the specialty arts-and-crafts store, the same one that had its payment systems hacked a while back.

Michaels charges a $2.95 in-store fee (or higher, depending on options) versus a usual $6.95 shipping fee (or higher, depending on options).  Originally, I was of the impression that such an in-store fee would likely hinder business.

However, the reason why I think such an in-store fee can work here is because, the in-store fee is for items that are NOT actually at the store already, but have to be shipped to the store from their warehouses.  Thus, the item is not actually in-stock, but has to still be shipped.  Instead of it being actually being shipped to your home, however, it’s shipped to the store, where you can pick it up at your convenience (within reason, of course- most stores do only hold items for a number of days before the order is cancelled).

This can help protect your package against “porch pirates” (those thieves that steal your packages right off your front porch or around your house when you’re not home to pick up your packages when the carrier arrives to deliver them).

Thus, you can save $4 (presuming you take the lowest-priced options- $2.95 for in-store and $6.95 for shipping) by having the item shipped to store.  Now, this in-store fee could still hamper business a bit because there are other retailers that don’t charge for shipping to store (Walmart is a prominent example, among others – believe Best Buy and Target have this as well).

Now, Michaels is more of a speciality, niche (and smaller) retailer where they specialize in arts and crafts, something that is not as focused on at Walmart and Target, but the in-price shipping could still be a detriment as compared to those retailers.

Still, the in-store fee isn’t quite as outrageous as I originally thought, thinking originally it was on in-store-already-in-stock items, as that type of fee went out of style at least a few years ago, if not longer.

However, Michaels MIGHT benefit more by dropping the in-store fee and charging a SLIGHTLY higher price on the item itself (i.e. I’m not saying to charge $2.95 more on the item, but maybe $1-$1.50 more)- this way, Michaels would drop the in-store shipping fee entirely, which could turn off some consumers when they see such a fee, as most retailers don’t have any nowadays.  And, the slightly higher cost would be paid by all consumers, more than making up for the loss in $2.95 in-store shipping option.

Something to think about and consider – what do you think of Michaels’ in-store shipping fee?

One update on Best Buy’s iPad Air 2 selection: All 128GB versions are back in stock, as are the 32GB versions.  It’s likely Best Buy limited the number of iPad Air 2s sold at the $125 discount to ensure there would be some at least available on Black Friday.  If all of them were sold on Thanksgiving, that would take away a key item that is in hot demand (as most Apple products are during the holidays).  I suspect Best Buy may do that again to ensure they have a quantity available for Cyber Monday.  They may even discount the iPad Mini 4 again too (right now, those are at full price).

One thing I have noticed with Best Buy’s shipping: While they still have free shipping site-wide on virtually all orders, their free 2-day shipping is gone (for now, at least).  They did have that free 2-day shipping up through Wednesday, but when Thanksgiving arrived, the free 2-day shipping disappeared.

My guess is that Best Buy wanted more consumers to have the urge to come in-store- if free 2-day shipping was offered, consumers would have less incentive to come to the store to purchase in person, as it wouldn’t take much longer for the consumer to receive the item.

Another reason is likely  because 2-day shipping would be much harder, being that Thanksgiving is a day where shipping doesn’t occur, plus Black Friday is quite busy and stressful for shipping, so 2-day shipping would be much harder, and to do it for free would be likely impossible.

Just some observations on Black Friday – what do you think?  What deals or observations have you seen in-store or online?

I may have more observations and/or thoughts later tonight or this weekend- stay tuned! Until then, good luck finding the best deals possible!

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