Now that the dust has started to settle from the coast-to-coast madness created by Panini America's 2012 Black Friday promotion, it's time to exhale, take a step back and attempt to assess the true impact of a program that, in two short years, has made local hobby shops across the country bona fide Black Friday shopping destinations for the first time in our industry's history.
Now that the dust has started to settle from the coast-to-coast madness created by Panini America’s 2012 Black Friday promotion, it’s time to exhale, take a step back and attempt to assess the true impact of a program that, in two short years, has made local hobby shops across the country bona fide Black Friday shopping destinations for the first time in our industry’s history.
To be sure, Panini America’s Black Friday blossomed in a big way in its second year, earning higher visibility from all angles, greater participation from both hobby shop owners and collectors, and benefiting greatly from seemingly nonstop social media activation from beginning to end.
In addition to generating record revenue days for many hobby shops, the 2012 Black Friday promotion also led to new weekly and monthly view records for The Knight’s Lance, the official blog of Panini America, a spike in traffic due in large part to widespread interest in the blog’s many Black Friday posts in the days prior to the promotion kicking off.
But significantly more important than increases in overall community buzz or web traffic is the bottom-line financial impact Panini America’s sophomore edition of Black Friday had in America’s hobby shops — the most important measurable of all.
According to research conducted by The Industry Summit, Panini America’s Black Friday promotion was directly attributable to $1.9 million in incremental hobby sales, a 26 percent increase over 2011’s debut promotion. A key sales driver: Retailers’ aggressive planning and utilization of social media to promote Black Friday activities.
“The Black Friday packs definitely bring people in,’’ Eddie Barkley of Eddie’s Sports Treasures in Knoxville, Tenn., told Industry Summit organizers. “It has been a great promotion, and I appreciated it dearly.’’
Barkley’s not alone. Other hobby shop owners from around the country echoed his sentiments. Here’s a quick sampling:
- “Panini America’s 2012 Black Friday was even better than last year, and last year was terrific. I saw an immediate increase in business once I got the word out to my customers that Black Friday Packs were coming back. The impact of 2012 Panini America Black Friday packs at Sports Cards Plus is not just a one-day sales increase, but a 100 percent increase over the month of October. November sales have already doubled sales for October 2012.” — Charlie DiPietro, Sports Cards Plus, San Antonio, Texas
- “For the first time ever, we decided to open up on Thanksgiving night in order to get Panini America Black Friday packs into the hands of our collectors as early as possible. Based on last year’s success, collectors were as excited to have Black Friday get here as they usually are for the start to the NFL season. In less than three hours we moved four times the amount of product we sell on an above-average day. It was Black Friday mania at Mike’s. Black Friday itself was another loco one in the shop with hundreds of Black Friday packs going out the door. We topped things off with our Monthly Trade Night on Saturday and between those three days, I must have burned a few hundred calories just making trips to the garbage can with loads of empty Panini America packs, boxes and cases.” — Mike Fruitman, Mike’s Stadium Sportscards, Aurora, Colo.
- “The Panini America Black Friday Promotion once again proved to be the added ingredient that my store needed to make the kickoff to the holiday shopping season a success. While Black Friday was always a day for shopping at large department stores and malls, thanks to Panini America, my store has become a necessary stop for many shoppers. My customers were especially excited that Panini America beefed up these special packs this year by adding blank-backed printing proof cards and additional unusual memorabilia cards. My store’s sales have never before been this good on Black Friday weekend!” — Steve Mandy, Attack of the Baseball Cards, Union, N.J.
- Almost 50 percent of my clientele’s homes were severely damaged or condemned after Superstorm Sandy hit. Many have relocated for months to come and some will not be able to rebuild. As you can figure, many of their collections were lost in this devastation. My battle is to embrace my customers and try to work through this and do what I need to do all in my power to get customers coming through my door again. The first start was Panini America’s Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, which went as well as they could have. The Panini America Black Friday promotion made many faces smile again and I want to thank you for that.” — Steve Cardi, The Card Shack, Lynnbrook, N.Y.
In two short years, Panini America’s Black Friday has transformed from a hobby shop promotion into an industry-wide phenomenon. As a result, company officials already are planning improvements for Black Friday 2013 in an effort to make it the best year yet.
“We’re ecstatic by the level of hobby-shop participation in the 2012 Panini America Black Friday promotion,” said D.J. Kazmierczak, Panini America’s Vice President of Sales. “Last year, in our first year with the Panini Black Friday promotion, we had some key learnings and feedback from hobby shops that we looked to incorporate into this year’s promotion. The overwhelming response we heard was to allow greater flexibility within the promotion. We were excited to see hobby shops utilize that flexibility and get creative in terms of how they leveraged the promotion and marketed the promotion to their customers to fully maximize Panini America Black Friday.
“It’s clear from the preliminary feedback we’ve received from shops that the Panini America Black Friday promotion helped deliver their single biggest day of the year and an enthusiastic level of energy to their stores. We’re thrilled with the level of participation from both hobby shops and collectors and look forward to continuing to grow that. There is no doubt that there will be another level of evolution to the Panini America Black Friday promotion in the future.”
We hope you find, like we did, that the following gallery and video — including contributions from Sports Cards Plus, Mike’s Stadium Sportscards, Attack of the Cards, Jeff DeGraw’s Matt’s Sports Cards, YouTubers Josh Iaquinto of BBEXPRESS2 and the Pinoy Mamba, and distributor Magazine Exchange — provide a fitting tribute to the fun, excitement, passion and massive appeal of a Panini America promotion that will grow only stronger and more robust in the years to come.
First, the images . . .
And now, a special Black Friday episode of Panini Unwrapped: Road Edition . . .