Jeff Bezos might not be dressing up in a fancy red suit this year, but it is for sure that Christmas shopping will look a little different this season. With ever-present concerns about spreading COVID-19 and a growing number of online holiday shoppers, we could be looking at an even quicker shift to a digital Christmas shopping season.
Is Black Friday the New Cyber Monday?
Black Friday–a highly anticipated post-Thanksgiving event–is infamous for humongous crowds, long waiting lines, and doorbusting deals. But crowded stores aren’t exactly the best idea in the midst of a global pandemic. Instead, avid shoppers are wondering what to expect this year.
In past years, stores have opened earlier and earlier. Many even opened on Thanksgiving Day itself, with great deals to promote holiday spending. This was mirrored by an uptick in online shopping from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. But this year, many large retailers are choosing to stay closed on Thanksgiving, including Walmart, the king of Thanksgiving-Day shop-till-you drop deals. The company has not yet released their plans for Black Friday shopping.
Some predict that brick-and-mortar stores won’t open their doors at all on Black Friday, while others think that stores will offer even better Black Friday deals over a longer period to make up for the revenue loss experienced over the past months.
But one thing is for sure: online shopping is taking over, especially with COVID concerns. It may even mark the end of the Black Friday era and the beginning of the virtual holiday season. For this holiday shopping season there will be a dramatic increase in online spending, a trend that has already seen a good deal of growth in past years here in the States and abroad.
What Holiday Shoppers can Expect
- For in-person shopping, expect the standard face mask and social distancing guidelines to apply.
- Some of your favorite stores may not have their brick-and-mortar locations open this year on Black Friday.
- If you’re wanting to avoid the crowds this year, online shopping is definitely for you! However, many people will be browsing from the comfort of their couches. Be prepared for your favorite stores’ websites to slow down considerably or even crash altogether with high volumes of traffic. Check out the deals beforehand and be sure to get online early to score on all the holiday specials!
- Many stores are also offering deals for an extended period. Be sure to regularly check in on those items you’re eyeing.
- If you want to avoid shipping fees or need your items right away, consider curbside pick-up. You can order online, pull right up to the store and receive your items without ever stepping foot outside your car.
What Retailers Can Expect
- Many shoppers are still cautious about COVID-19, so retailers should prepare for less foot traffic in stores.
- If your physical location will be open, ensure that all of your team members are prepared for in-person shoppers and to follow safety guidelines.
- Of course, online shopping will increase, so businesses should make sure their websites are prepared for high traffic volume.
- Consumer behavior experts predict that many stores will begin a soft opening of Black Friday-type deals through November.
While there may still be some uncertainty as to exactly how the holiday shopping season will pan out, there is no doubt that online shopping is taking over the world of retail. Who knows… even Santa himself might have to get onboard the online shopping sleigh.