Just this past Tuesday, Macy's posted a sneak peek of its Black Friday ad. And even though we're only halfway through October, the retailer still missed being the first merchant to announce its Black Friday ad by a mere 24 hours. (JCPenney's free snow globe takes the cake this year!) Still, this announcement is right on schedule for Macy's; last year the retailer posted a Black Friday preview on the exact same day. If it happens again next year, then we will forever call the third Tuesday in October "Macy's Black Friday Ad Leak Day" (#MBFALD).
However, this year's leak not only differs from Black Friday 2012 in its offerings, but also its distribution. Last year, Macy's released the early access preview via its mobile app. This year the store one-upped itself in unconventionality by revealing the sneak peek on Pinterest. Only 10 items are currently listed, but Macy's promises that more are on the way.
Deliberately releasing Black Friday sales info has become a trend amongst retailers; it effectively lets them "own" the process. If a store releases sneak peeks in a controlled way, then it can be used for specific marketing purposes. In this case, Macy's has more than doubled its number of followers on Pinterest in about 24 hours. And unsurprisingly, most of the leaked Black Friday sales are mostly for women or are gender-neutral, which is in line with Pinterest's demographic.
Regardless of the store's reasons or methods, the question remains if the Macy's Black Friday deals themselves are any good. We took a look at the deals and compared them to past promotions to put the discounts into perspective.
Sharper Image Action Camera
This waterproof camera is meant to be mounted to a helmet or bike or other "extreme" device for action recording. Since it currently sells for $110 with free shipping at Macy's, this one is a solid deal at 55% off. We've never even seen a comparable camera for anywhere near as low as this price either. The closest we've seen was a similar 5-megapixel camera for $150 on Black Friday — two years ago.
Contemporary Apparel Sale
Discount: 30% off
This sale (which includes discounts on brands like Kensie, Lucky Brand, Miss Me, RACHEL Rachel Roy, and Bar III) is a solid "meh." Macy's routinely has sales on large swaths of women's clothing and some of those sales see discounts of as much as 85% off. Are these specific name brands always included in those sales? Of course not. But are any of these brands worth paying more for, just to have them? That's up to you! What we can definitively say is that there will be better clothing discounts around Black Friday.
Martha Stewart Collection Enameled Cast Iron Casserole Dishes
Discount: 60% off with an extra 10% off
To date, the best sale we've seen on Martha's cookware appeared in April: Macy's knocked 50% off with an extra 10% off in-cart. This Black Friday deal will narrowly beat that. And that's a good thing.
Charter Club Women's Cashmere Crewneck Sweaters
A $40 price tag is half off what Macy's currently charges for these tops. Furthermore, this Black Friday sale offers the lowest price we've seen for any cashmere sweater since Black Friday last year, when Kohl's discounted a selection of Apt. 9 cashmere tops to $28. While the Macy's deal is quite good, there's a solid chance that Kohl's will again offer cashmere sweaters for cheap during its Black Friday sale this year.
The lowest price we've seen for any Rampage boots was on Black Friday last year when Bon-Ton offered a pair for $20, so this deal is likely to be a head turner. The only downside might be if Macy's chooses not to offer free shipping, or if this is an in-store only deal. Still, these boots have been nowhere near this cheap in almost a year, and their Black Friday price is 43% off what Macy's currently charges.
Overall, we'd say that the Macy's Black Friday sneak peek is a pretty good start to this year's Black Friday ad leaks, although there are certainly no doorbusters in the preview. All the same, many Black Friday ads actually contain deals and are very impressive compared to sales and promotions seen throughout the rest of the year. So, is your Black Friday appetite whetted yet?
Jeff Somogyi is the media editor for Dealnews.com, where this article first appeared.