Black Friday is a longstanding shopping event, and it’s the biggest shopping day of the year. For many Americans, the retail holiday goes hand-in-hand with Thanksgiving. After filling our stomachs and hearts, shoppers pile into their favorite supply chains to catch the best deals and help the retail industry stay in the black. But that was before the onslaught of COVID-19.
Now, like many of the other things in our everyday lives, shopping has changed. Naturally, we wonder, how will Black Friday be affected? Will it be canceled? And if it’s here to stay, what can we expect? There is little information about how the holiday season will thrive, but we’ve got a few ideas about how Black Friday may look for 2020 and beyond.
Black Friday As We Know It is Dead
No, Black Friday itself isn’t dead, but the traditional Black Friday we know and train for is. That means no more long in-store lines, people being packed shoulder to shoulder, or news footage of shoppers excitedly pulling items off shelves. For some consumers, this news makes them breathe a sigh of relief. But for supply chains, it takes away the atmosphere and excitement that cause shoppers to go in for one thing but come out with plenty of others. Chains like Walmart, Best Buy, and Sam’s Club announced that they’ll be closed on Thanksgiving, but to date, no one has announced being closed on Black Friday. So, it’s safe to say that it’s on. We’ll find out how in the coming months.
Black Friday Sales Will Move Primarily Online
An expected change from the traditional Black Friday model is that most sales are going to be offered online. And the few stores that do allow in-store shopping will have to have significant limitations. This trend of online shopping is nothing new. It’s been on an incline for years. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, online sales were already on the rise before COVID-19 struck. In 2019, consumers spent more than $600 billion online, a 15 percent increase from the year before.
For many supply chains like Macy’s, curbside pickup was a service that didn’t exist in 2019, but in the wake of the virus, it’s what’s kept them out of bankruptcy. And it likely will continue to be during the holiday season. Instead of lines of people winding around buildings, supply chains may instead see cars around their buildings. Many customers may opt for curbside pickup because of its immediacy over having it shipped to their house, plus they can verify if an item is actually in stock.
Black Friday Deals Will Be Deep
Black Friday is nothing without its deep discounts and doorbuster items. After all, Americans love a good deal. But this holiday season, the discounts may be deeper than in previous years. This is an attempt to appeal to the 20 million Americans who are unemployed due to the virus. It also appeals to the countless others hesitant to spend their money on anything other than what they need.
This change in shopping habits will also force supply chains to be more strategic about what they offer as deals. In previous years, retailers could easily guess or influence what people would be interested in. But in a COVID retail market, they’ll have to reexamine what customers want and need.
Black Friday Won’t Be a One Day Event
We all know that Black Friday is a one-day event, usually held the day after Thanksgiving with some pre-Black Friday deals starting on Thanksgiving night. But this year may be different. It seems as if 2020 is reviving one of the original intentions of Black Friday, to make sure retail businesses finish the year in the “black,” or with a positive profit, and save them from ending at a loss, or “in the red.”
Retail experts suggest that in order for stores to maximize profits while providing the best shopping experience, their best strategy is to extend Black Friday from one day to several days. This extension also benefits consumers because it allows them to spend the most money and take advantage of the best deals. Some stores, like Target and Macy’s, have already announced that they’re starting their holiday season as early as October.
Black Friday May Include Amazon Prime Day
Earlier this year, Amazon postponed Prime Day, its version of Black Friday, due to the global pandemic. Since its beginning in 2015, every Prime Day has taken place in July. Recently, Amazon’s finance chief, Brian Olsavsky, announced that the highly anticipated event would take place during the fourth quarter, which media outlets discovered is between Oct.1 and Dec. 31. Many believe that Prime Day will be held closer to Black Friday in November. The online retail juggernaut holding its summer sale closer to Black Friday means that smaller businesses can benefit from the increase in impulse buys and gain new customers.
There Will Be More Returns
When we typically shop for ourselves or loved ones, we like to test items out and try on clothing. But thanks to COVID-19, doing so still comes with a high risk. And since many shoppers won’t be able to go into the stores to preview before purchasing and have to rely on images, experts predict an uptick in returns. For retailers, this means adjusting their return policies to allow for these particular circumstances and implementing new sanitization protocols to protect their employees.
Jordan Alliance Group: Preparing Retailers for Industry Changes
No one is certain how Black Friday and the holiday season will change for brick and mortar retailers, but one thing is sure, Jordan Alliance Group is here to help.
Our team at Jordan Alliance can help retailers navigate the brick-and-mortar and online store challenges you face. We’ll work hand-in-hand to ensure you thrive for years to come.
Contact our team for a free consultation, and let’s get started.
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