Black Friday is known as the biggest shopping day of the year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will look different.
There is one thing for sure, COVID-19 is not canceling Black Friday. Many retailers rolled out Black Friday savings over the last few weeks and will continue to offer them to get you to shop. For this Black Friday, the deals are expected to be big, but you should also expect a big difference when it comes to your shopping experience.
Retailers have put measures in place to prevent big crowds and fights over those hard to get hot items.
"You're going to see lines outside the door in some cases. Those aren't because the people are waiting at 4 in the morning to pick up those doorbusters," Sara Skirboll, a shopping and trends expert, said. "It's because the retailers are really trying to implement safe safety standards and measures to keep the employees and the customers safe."
At Target, you can check the website to see if there's a line outside of the store. If there is, you can reserve your spot and you'll get a text when it's your turn to go in and shop. Here is more information on Target's Save Your Spot program.
Also expect to see in retailers hand sanitizer, directional arrows to follow, stickers on the ground to make sure there's enough social distancing at check out, and protective barriers at registers. When it comes to checking out, there will be more options.
"There will be contact-free check out on your app, you can check out with a sales associate at the door rather than standing at the register,"
Trae Bodge, another shopping and trend expert, said.
At Best Buy, added a customer experience host will be at the front of every store. Stickers have been placed on the floor, as well as outside, to help encourage social distancing. And if you need help from a Blue Shirt, you'll be placed in a digital que while you wait.
Contactless curbside pickup is now available at all Best Buy stores. Store pickup is another option.
Walmart stores will open at 5 a.m. local time on Black Friday in-store event days. Customers will have to form a single, straight line to enter the store. Associates will hand out sanitized shopping carts to customers. Workers will be placed at entrances to greet customers and remind them to put on a mask.
During these in-store Black Friday events, Walmart will meter customers into the store to help reduce congestion. Customers will be directed to shop down the right-hand side of aisles.
Kohl's has launched Drive Up at Kohl's where customers can choose free, same-day pick up at the store. The contactless, free service is available at Kohl's stores nationwide. Eligible items on Kohls.com marked as "Free Store Pickup" will be available to pick up within two hours. The company has installed protective barriers at all registers and will offer touchless payment. Signage and floor decals have also been placed throughout stores to encourage six feet of social distancing, with a particular focus on high traffic areas including at customer service and checkout.
If you're not comfortable heading into stores this Black Friday, many retailers now offer curbside pickup. You just buy what you want online, and within hours you'll get notified the item is ready. You drive to the store and park at the curbside pick-up.
"Show your ID, and someone will bring your item out to your car pop it in your trunk, you don't even have to get out of your car. In many cases, it's safe and it's completely contactless. If you don't want to wait or risk the wait to have something shipped from your online purchase this is a great alternative to that," Skirboll said.
If you're shopping online before you buy look at the estimated shipping arrival date. With more people shopping online, there are expected to be shipping delays so make sure you order with plenty of time for your gifts to arrive. More than seven million holiday packages will be shipped each day. That's three times more than last year. Ground shipping deadlines for Christmas usually fall between December 15-19, and that may be too long to wait this year.
If you're heading out to shop in the stores, the number one rule all retailers are asking shoppers to remember is to not forget your masks as retailers are requiring them to get into stores.