Retail Dogma


What is a Doorbuster?

A doorbuster is a type of offer where a product, or a group of products, is offered at a deep discount for a limited time or while supplies last. It is designed to create buzz, and drive high foot traffic to the retail stores early in the morning at opening hours.

A synonym for doorbuster is door crasher or door smasher.

Why Are They Called Doorbusters?

They are called doorbusters, because the rush in traffic in many cases results in the doors of the store being broken from the stampede of people who came in early to buy the items before they run out of stock.

Unfortunately, there have been many incidents where this has resulted in destruction of property and in some cases even fatal injuries among customers and store employees.

Doorbuster Example

Examples of doorbusters include the promotions offered by many big retailers during Black Friday.

These promotions, if attractive enough, result in major crowds going to the stores and waiting in line for the opening time to buy the items at deep discounts.

A lot of the buyers are actually resellers, who later on sell those items at higher prices after the promotion has ended.

How It Works

A retailer prepares for the doorbuster promotion by selecting the items that will go on discount and creating an item list, with before-and-after prices.

This list is then shared with the store teams to prepare for the promotion, by pricing the merchandise on the night of the promo and having them placed in the designated areas. In many regions a promotion permit needs to be obtained by the retailer from the relevant authority, and in this case the same item list with before-and-after prices is also shared with this authority, to ensure that the advertised discount percentage is actually real.


To create buzz around the event and help drive traffic at the day of the event, the retailer starts a marketing campaign to inform customers about the upcoming promotion and what to expect.

Among the preparations are also all the different measures the retailer takes, to make sure the event is a success, and that the customer experience during the event will be as smooth as possible.

These preparations could include:

  • Hiring temporary staff to assist in serving customers
  • Preparing special retail team schedules for the event days
  • Placing extra cash desks or mobile POS to help checkout more customers
  • Hiring extra security personnel to maintain order during the event
  • Allocating more merchandise to the stores, especially for the items on discount
  • Setting special sales targets for the teams during the event days

On the day of the event itself the retailer may choose to open the stores earlier than the usual operating hours and close much later than normal, to extend shopping hours for those days.

Why Retailers Use This Type of Offer?

Retailers use doorbuster offers to create excitement, drive traffic to the stores, and raise cash quickly, by clearing some inventory through such events.

Many retailers do this at times where sales have not been as planned in their budgets, and so they need to catch up with lost sales, and also clear out some excess inventory that is building up from lower sales volumes. Others do it on a yearly basis at specified times, such as Black Friday, and so it is already factored into their sales budgets and retail calendar, and needs to take place as planned.

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