How different will Black Friday be this year due to COVID-19? So different that, for some retailers, it’s already Black Friday and will continue to be through the holiday season. To reduce coronavirus transmission and crowd sizes, retailers have gotten creative for Black Friday and the entire holiday shopping season.
The Deals Have Already Begun
The first thing to know about this year’s Black Friday sales is that they’ve already started. Many big box retailers and major brands are offering deals and sales right now. Instead of placing the focus on a single day of shopping or even a week-long period of shopping, retailers have taken it online and expanded the savings. This reduces crowds in stores, keeping everyone safer.
Wal-Mart has planned three opportunities to get the “best prices of the season” in November alone. Lowe’s is offering daily deals online from October 22 to December 2. Amazon started a Holiday Dash with special prices already available. Target, Sam’s Club, Macy’s, and multiple other major retailers aren’t waiting to entice shoppers to wait. They’re actively encouraging us all to buy gifts earlier and over a longer period of time this year.
More Ways to Shop
Of course, by now, we all know how easy it is to shop online. But retailers are going above and beyond to create different options for customers. If you don’t want the expense of shipping costs or the wait, many stores allow you to buy online and pick up in store or curbside. That way you get your purchase sooner rather than later, but you’re not crowding into a store.
Smaller retailers, especially those who can’t compete with the big names on price or discounts, will continue to offer special experiences. While in the past those might have been pictures with Santa or winter festivals downtown, this year, they’re getting creative in new ways. Some small stores offer reservation options for customers to shop in store. Others will allow limited numbers of customers in at a time so people can safely shop in person. You may even find a store that gives you a virtual personal shopper experience.
Less Stress This Shopping Season
Ultimately, for those who love the Black Friday experience, it will definitely be different this year. But, in some ways, it may be a lot less stressful, too. No fighting crowds, waking up before the sun rises, or staying up late on Thanksgiving. For those who really enjoy the experience of shopping with friends and family, make it a Zoom party instead and drink hot chocolate (or hot toddies) while shopping in your pajamas.
One nice thing has come from the changes to the shopping season: many retailers will close on Thanksgiving this year. Wal-Mart was one of the first to announce the change, and other stores made their own announcements soon after. Not only does this keep people safe from crowded stores, it gives their employees time to spend with their own families.
You don’t have to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to start your holiday shopping, and you don’t have to shove a stranger to get the best deal on the perfect gift. Black Friday is a different experience this year, and for good reason.