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Black Friday is going to be weird this year — and that’s a good thing https://techbylight.com/
Challenges always present an opportunity for innovation, and we’ve seen plenty of them since COVID-19 hit. And while Black Friday has certainly changed a lot over the years, it’s going to look extra different this November as we try to navigate a world where it’s not safe to crowd a bunch of people into an enclosed store.
Black Friday is officially on Nov. 27 (it's always the day after Thanksgiving), but there's still a lot that's up in the air. Namely? Whether or not people will even be allowed to shop in person. Merchants are slowly releasing their plans for 2020, and we'll be tracking the latest updates right here.
Black Friday 2020: Latest news and updates Walmart: Leading the way, Walmart was early to put out a statement about remaining closed on Thanksgiving this year. This is big because Walmart is basically synonymous with Thanksgiving evening shopping madness. Walmart hosted a Prime Day-esque shopping event called "Big Save" Oct. 11 through Oct. 15, which acted as a taste of what's to come for Black Friday. The retail giant also announced two Black Friday shopping days ahead of the actual holiday — with one on Nov. 4 and the other on Nov. 11 with another coming between those dates and actual Black Friday that hasn't been announced yet. These events will feature deals on all the stuff you want: 4K TVs, Instant Pot and other small kitchen appliances, toys, laptops, and more. Walmart will also focus on the stuff we've all been buying the most for the last seven months — like athleisure and loungewear, exercise equipment, WFH electronics, and all the other pandemic purchases we've been making.
Amazon: Amazon Prime Day took place Oct. 13 through Oct. 14 this year after months of delays because of the pandemic, and Prime Day deals are basically running right into Black Friday deals. Black Friday could even "start" Monday, Oct. 26 at Amazon, with early deals running through Nov. 19, according to reports from Tamebay, an Amazon seller news site. (Take that with a grain of salt though, as there's no official announcement from the retailer to back this up. At the very least, we do feel confident saying that Amazon will be running Black Friday-worthy deals well before Cyber Week begins.) Amazon will still honor actual Black Friday and Cyber Monday on their true dates of Nov. 27 and Nov. 30. These Black Friday deals are for all customers, not just Prime members. (Prime Day was for Prime members only.)
Target: Starting holiday deals in October has been a huge trend this year. Target also rode the coattails of Prime Day by hosting its own "Deals Day" Oct. 13 and 14, and the low prices seem like they'll be sticking around until Black Friday. Target's doors will be closed on Thanksgiving, but we suspect they'll be open Black Friday — for curbside pickup at the very least. The retailer has also made 20,000 more of its products available for pickup or delivery, giving customers more flexibility during the holiday season.
Best Buy: While Amazon had Prime Day on Oct. 13 and 14, Best Buy ran a two-day Black Friday shopping event. This was the first official "Black Friday" deals event announcement, as other retailers have been sharing deals under the guise of Prime Day and similar events. Best Buy also offered a flexible price match guarantee where if you bought something with a “Black Friday Price Guaranteed” label on Oct. 13 or 14 and the price drops lower before Nov. 28, you'll get refunded for the difference.
Home Depot: While some retailers have toyed with the idea of ditching Black Friday, Home Depot actually bit the bullet. Instead of a weekend-long shopping event, the retailer will host two whole months of holiday deals online and in stores starting in November. Home Depot also announced that no stores will be open on Thanksgiving.
Macy's: Macy's joined the pack of retailers that announced closures on Thanksgiving — this is even more noteworthy because this also means the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is taking a hit this year. The event will be viewable via TV/streaming only and in-person attendance won't be permitted. As for the shopping, Macy's will be releasing its holiday sales information earlier than usual this year to allow customers to spread out their purchasing so it's not a mad dash on Black Friday. We already know that the retailer will be running Black Friday specials online, in stores, and on the Macy's app Nov. 24 through 28.
For a full list of stores closed on Thanksgiving, check out our partners at BestBlackFriday.com. We predict this list will continue to grow as we get closer to the holiday, so retailers can reduce lines and overcrowding in their stores as they try to comply with social distancing regulations.
The future of Black Friday — getting creative with technology https://techbylight.com/
While we're still learning about what Black Friday will look like in 2020, we have a slew of predictions for what this and future Black Fridays could look like.
Hunting for deals via AR? Personal shoppers? The triumphant return of QR codes? We've reviewed our notes from years past with an eye on the future to come up with this list of possibilities — let's see how many we get right.
Say goodbye to in-store shopping Black Friday is going to be weird this year — and that’s a good thing IMAGE: PEXELS Some stores (like Target, Kohl's, and Walmart) have already decided to keep their doors closed on Thanksgiving, so it’s hard to imagine in-store shopping as we know it getting the green light on Black Friday. Don’t bank on getting to go into brick and mortar stores and browse deals — we’re predicting they’ll all be closed and online shopping will reign supreme.
Curbside pickup is here to stay Black Friday is going to be weird this year — and that’s a good thing IMAGE: PEXELS One of the biggest shopping changes to come about during the COVID-19 pandemic is the surge of curbside pickup options. Black Friday will be no different. Gone are the days when having someone deliver a bag of goodies to your car was just reserved for your Friday night trips to Chili's. Taking advantage of curbside pickup will also let you get your loot the same day instead of having to wait for it to be shipped to your house.
Say hello to a possible lottery system Black Friday is going to be weird this year — and that’s a good thing IMAGE: PIXABAY Despite in-store restrictions, merchants may still try to find a work around. A lottery system could be put into place where you could win (or even purchase) a time slot to get to do your shopping without a crowd of other shoppers. It could be set up so that 10 or so people get to come inside to shop within a designated half hour or hour timeframe.
This would be a nice contrast to previous years where lines to get into the store would often wind around the building or down the block. You have your specific shopping time and you get right in.
Get ready to hit that refresh button Black Friday is going to be weird this year — and that’s a good thing IMAGE: PEXELS Because there will be such an influx of traffic for retailers’ online shops, you can fully expect to run into technical issues. Be prepared for sites to be slower or just crash altogether because of higher traffic.
We’ll also likely see challenges with items remaining in stock. This is something we already experience in normal years, but with an online-only Black Friday, you’ll have to do that fighting over the last item on the shelf virtually. It’ll be like you’re really at the store! But for real, plan ahead and make a list of the big ticket items you want and be quick to add them to your cart and check out to make sure they don’t go out of stock before you can buy them.
The deals may actually be better this year Black Friday is going to be weird this year — and that’s a good thing IMAGE: PEXELS The year 2020 sucks and we all know it. We anticipate that retailers will try to make up for it by running extra/better deals and "doorbusters," especially since we won’t get to shop in-store sales. As such, we’re not expecting to see any “in-store only” deals, which means all of those typical doorbusters will be available online to encourage people to shop safely from their homes.
An online Black Friday is sounding better and better — you get bonus deals and you don’t even have to leave your couch after your post-turkey day food coma.
Black Friday won’t be limited to just a weekend Black Friday is going to be weird this year — and that’s a good thing IMAGE: PEXELS Black Friday has already become a month-long event, so we’re expecting it to feel even longer this year. Get your wallet ready in October (Prime Day is also rumored to start this month) because there will most definitely be some early Black Friday deals. Online shopping has no physical limitations, so retailers will probably have a heyday with running deals.
Keep an eye out for QR codes Black Friday is going to be weird this year — and that’s a good thing IMAGE: PIXABAY As holiday season approaches, your mailbox starts getting flooded with ad scans for all the upcoming deals. The Black Fridays of the future will probably turn toward tech to make this a more immersive experience. We wouldn’t be surprised to see AR ad circulars where you can scan QR codes and see special deals and product information on your phone.
For example, say you are a dedicated magazine reader — you could see special QR codes within the pages that take you to the products advertised at a retailer like Amazon, Best Buy, or Walmart. We’re guessing that readers will have access to special Black Friday deals that they can scan from print publications (or social feeds) as the shopping holiday turns more virtual.
VR could be big Black Friday is going to be weird this year — and that’s a good thing IMAGE: PEXELS If you truly love shopping in stores on Black Friday, VR might be in your future. There are already some companies, like Youcan, that are creating virtual retail spaces that let you feel like you’re actually shopping at your favorite stores. This allows for gamification and the act of hunting for deals without having to leave your home — whether that’s to avoid a deadly virus or annoyingly large crowds of people.
Voice-activated shopping finally takes off Black Friday is going to be weird this year — and that’s a good thing IMAGE: AMAZON Alexa is our go-to pal when we have a question or want to know the weather, but the voice assistant might also become a key player in Black Friday shopping. There are already some shopping commands integrated into Alexa’s programming, so using your voice to shop Black Friday deals would come naturally. Plus, maybe we’ll see some exclusive Amazon deals for Alexa device users.
Turn to the ‘Gram Black Friday is going to be weird this year — and that’s a good thing IMAGE: INSTAGRAM / SCREENSHOT Instagram has entered the chat. If you’re an avid user of the platform, you’ve probably already bought something from a post or ad you’ve seen. Black Friday deals could litter your Explore page and the feeds of all the brands and influencers you follow. There could even be some exclusive deals you won’t see anywhere else. Being a loyal follower has its perks.
Welcome new technology Black Friday is going to be weird this year — and that’s a good thing IMAGE: AMAZON While we can’t say for certain all of the cool new ways we’ll be able to shop in the future, one innovation we’re interested in come Black Friday is the Amazon Dash Cart. The cart knows what you put in it and displays everything and your total on its screen, and you can even opt for cashier-less checkout, which is great for limiting contact during COVID-19 times.
This comes on the heels of other types of shopping changes, including personal shopping programs like Instacart. You could use a service to have someone do your Black Friday shopping for you and get your items delivered to you the same day.
Black Friday 2020 is going to be weird, but we are here for it. We’re expecting big things to come out of this from the tech sector, with some truly innovative changes to the shopping world. Whatever happens, we'll continue to scope out the best deals — so keep those credit cards warm.
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