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What is a Door Buster?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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The door buster is a sales and marketing strategy that is sometimes employed with retail businesses. Essentially, it is a deal on some type of low-priced item that is anticipated to attract the attention of consumers, and draw them into the store. Once in the store, the customers can secure the discounted item and presumably look around the store for other items they may need or want.

As the colorful name implies, a door buster is thought to be a deal that customers are not likely to resist. Instead of shopping elsewhere, consumers will rush to the store in order to take advantage of the special and secure the sale item. The amount of traffic that the sale is usually projected to generate is of such a magnitude that consumers are ready to burst through the entrance of the establishment in order to purchase the sale item before the store sells out.

For many retailers, a door buster is an item that has not sold well at the current retail price. In order to remove the item from the general inventory, the retailer makes a decision to reduce the price to a point that consumers who were put off by the original price will suddenly consider it feasible to purchase the item. While this means the goods are sold at a loss, the retailer does recoup a portion of the investment associated with them. Selling the item as a door buster also reduces the taxable inventory and may create a tax deduction for the retailer, depending on applicable tax laws.

In addition to clearing an item from active inventory that is not selling well, retailers also often use the door buster as a hook or draw into the store. Often, consumers will enter the store in order to secure the item, but then spend time browsing around for other items that may be needed or desired. Thus, the door buster helps to generate sales of other items, which can help to offset any remaining loss incurred by the low sale price of the special.

Consumers benefit from the sale of a door buster by acquiring an item that may be desirable, but which the customer could not justify purchasing at the original retail price. The level of satisfaction received from getting a bargain often helps to boost consumer confidence and also makes it feasible to stretch the household budget to accommodate additional purchases that would not have been considered otherwise.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including SmartCapitalMind, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By anon356793 — On Nov 28, 2013

So, if a door gets "busted" during a doorbuster sale, then the store is responsible for repairing the door. It is not like they didn't expect it, right?

By oasis11 — On Dec 07, 2010

Subway11-I just want to say that when you are shopping on Black Friday you have to be mindful of the crowds.

Although most stores offer adequate security and a systematic method of handling the lines, there are people that have been hurt and even killed because of stampedes.

This happened in a Wal Mart store in New York. It is best that if someone is getting aggressive and pushing you that you just let them get in front of you and get out of their way. No bargain is worth your life.

By subway11 — On Dec 05, 2010

Bhutan- I always look at the door busters for Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day and check out the Black Friday coupons.

The newspaper offers all of the circulars so that you can plan your shopping trip. I usually look at the Target door busters, the Best Buy door busters, the Wal Mart door busters, and the Toys R’ Us door busters.

I will usually focus on a Target door buster and end up spending most of my morning over there because the store carries gifts for everyone.

Toys R’ Us has huge lines so unless it is something that I have to have, I usually avoid it because Target probably offers something similar.

There are some people that find the Black Friday deals online, but I prefer looking through my newspaper because those lists are not comprehensive enough and do not provide the level of detail that I need. I like to see the actual picture of the Black Friday door buster.

By Bhutan — On Dec 03, 2010

I know exactly what you mean. A few years ago I went to Best Buy to take advantage of their Black Friday sales and they had only ten 42” plasma television sets for $999.

At the time that was below cost which is why the store only offered ten at that price. The store opened at 5:00 AM and I was in line at 4:00 AM.

Although I did not get one of the 10 tickets that were initially offered, I was able to get a ticket that someone put down and I was able to get that TV for $999.

I could not believe it. As far as the rest of the Black Friday specials some stores offer a time limit and tell customers that the prices are only good for certain items until noon for example, while other stores offer the sale and add that it is while supplies last because they have limited quantities of the item.

It is an exciting time to shop but you have to be really patient because the lines could be really long.

By icecream17 — On Dec 01, 2010

Thanksgiving door busters were usually offered the day after Thanksgiving which is referred to as Black Friday.

It is called Black Friday because it is when most retailers go from red to black meaning that they start to earn a profit.

Most retailers earn about 50% or more of their total revenue earnings during the Christmas season which is why they offer these aggressive sales.

Some retailers were even opened on Thanksgiving Day for a short period of time to get an early start on the holiday shopping season’s revenue.

However most people that shop during this time period focus on the Black Friday door busters because each store will offer a number of significant products at almost wholesale cost.

These items are in limited quantities and many people that want them will camp out in front of a store the night before in order to get a spot in line that will ensure that they can get one of the few quantities available.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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