Every year, Black Friday comes around the day after Thanksgiving to ensure a business’s profits for the year. Bring them out of the red and into the black, as it were. Except, this year is not like every other year.
With COVID-19, businesses across the country have struggled especially hard to stay afloat. That makes this Black Friday more important ever for many retailers’ survival. Except COVID is still here, and there are still masking and social distancing rules in place to limit transmission. And those same rules tend to reduce the number of customers and transactions.
It is a tremendous challenge for brick-and-mortar stores to face. Except, many are not giving up without a fight. What are businesses going to do this year to try to get their accounting into the black but still meet CDC guidelines?
It’s a time-honored Black Friday tradition: lines of people waiting for hours outside for an electronics or department store to open. Then there’s that crush of people, rushing into the store to grab that extra-great deal on a flat screen TV or gaming console.
With social distancing guidelines being what they are, such crowds are not acceptable this year. (Some might argue that they aren’t acceptable any year, really. But, we digress.) So, larger stores aim to balance out the deals with the number of people that may want to take advantage. To do so, many such stores are offering several good deals over a longer period of time, instead of one mind-blowing deal available for just one day.
Information changes daily. So, before you make any in-person shopping plans, you should call ahead to confirm store hours and precautions.
Focus on Online Shopping
Many of the aforementioned “doorbusters” could, in fact, simply move online. Over the course of several years now, online shopping has continued to gain larger and larger proportions of the holiday shopping market. This trend has already led many retailers–even smaller mom and pop shops–to fine-tune their online offerings in order to remain competitive.
Thankfully, that helps them to stay in the game–and hopefully be profitable–with limitations otherwise placed on store hours and the allowed number of in-person shoppers. Retailers are focusing their inventory and marketing efforts even more than normal on online shopping. To draw customers to their website, they will feature web-only sales and other discounts on online purchases.
Be sure to read “A Guide to Safe Online Shopping” to keep your finances and personal information secure while shopping online.
All November Long…and Longer
The concept of extending the holiday shopping season is nothing new. (“It’s not even Halloween yet, and they already have the Christmas stuff out!”) But this year could see Black Friday-centric promotions extending even further than normal to try and grab that much-needed consumer dollar. Black Friday is no longer just the one Friday; it is the hub around which a weeks-long marketing blitz can revolve.
You’ve no doubt already seen plenty of Black Friday month deals. Many of these did indeed kick off around Halloween. And they could very well extend through most of December. Part of this is, of course, a desire for businesses to take every opportunity they can to make a profit. But another reason is that many customers actually want it to happen.
Life is hard these days. People want the magic and distraction of the holidays to last as long as possible and to take their minds off of all the negativity that’s otherwise swirling around. Yes, even if that means overlapping holidays and putting colorful and twinkling lights up two months early. For retailers, it’s a no-brainer to market to this demographic.
In short, yes, the traditional stand-in-line-for-hours kind of Black Friday may be pretty much off the table this year. But in every other way, it remains alive and well. Happy shopping, and happy holidays!
For more information about current events and other tips for living well (at least, relatively) with the coronavirus, be sure to check out the many articles on the subject on the PeopleFinders blog.
Photo credit: Syda Productions – www.shutterstock.com