For the first time, the discounter will also offer shoppers curbside pickup at its stores for Black Friday orders.
The details offer the first glimpse from a major retailer of what a reinvented Black Friday will look like during the pandemic. Other retailers such as Macy’s have said their Black Friday deals will be spread out and will encourage more online shopping, but none have given specific details.
The day after Thanksgiving has been losing its luster as the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season for the last several years. That’s because retailers started to usher in deals on Thanksgiving and then increasingly offered holiday discounts throughout the month. Still, despite the competition from other days, Black Friday has remained the busiest day of the year, according to ShopperTrak, which uses cameras in a range of stores to count traffic.
This holiday season, many stores are starting their holiday deals in October. Amazon, which usually holds its annual Prime Day sales event in mid-July, delayed it to this week. Other stores including Target and Walmart have joined in and are holding holiday sales that align with the event. Many stores, including Walmart, will not open their doors on Thanksgiving Day this year.
As shoppers avoid physical stores and focus more on online shopping, foot traffic at retail stores is expected to be down 22% to 25% during the six key weeks of the holiday season compared with the same year-ago period, according to a forecast from ShopperTrak.
And ShopperTrak expects the 10 busiest days this year will account for 34.2% of all holiday traffic, compared with 46.5% in 2019. As a result, the typical holiday traffic peaks will flatten, with more days having importance throughout the season, according to Brian Field, a senior director of the retail consulting practice at ShopperTrak, part of Sensormatic Solutions. Field said he still expects Black Friday will be the busiest day of the year.
The challenge for stores will be to get shoppers to buy earlier.
“If the deal is right, customers are willing to shop earlier,” Scott McCall, chief merchandising officer at Walmart, told The Associated Press.
McCall noted that Walmart was forced to rethink Black Friday when the pandemic was declared. He noted that many of the holiday items destined for the stores were rerouted to the e-commerce fulfillment centers.
Click here to monitor Walmart’s Black Friday deals.
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