“Black Friday has definitely transitioned more into a digital affair in the past five years,” said Neil Saunders, retail analyst and managing director at GlobalData Retail, previously told CNN Business. “The focal point is not that single day anymore. It’s an event spread out over several days.”
And those who are brave (or crazy) enough to hit the stores on Black Friday will notice enhanced safety protocols and capacity controls.
Here’s how major US retailers changed their Black Friday plans this year:
“As we’ve said, Black Friday isn’t just one day this year — it’s months long,” Best Buy said in a statement.
Stores will open at 5 am on Black Friday with the retailer still requiring shoppers to wear face coverings. It’s also enforcing capacity controls and there will be a “dedicated customer experience host” to help direct shoppers and answer questions.
Contactless curbside pickup and expanded same-day delivery will also be available.
The retailer recently said it decided to “reinvent” Black Friday this year to reduce stress for consumers who typically rush to stores in droves to grab the best deals. Given the pandemic, the company indicated that maintaining safety was also a factor in its decision.
One notable addition this year: Free delivery of fresh-cut trees and wreaths on orders more than $45.
Black Friday sales at the department store will begin online and in stores beginning November 4.
On the day after Thanksgiving itself, Macy’s said shoppers can “expect to shop those same deals safely in-store” with additional cleaning, employees wearing personal protection equipment and “occupancy checks with an emphasis on traffic flow to anticipate and mitigate crowds.”
Although it’s pushing people to shop online and use its curbside pickup option, shoppers that go to its stores won’t experience the pandemonium of the past. Instead, they will form single-file lines at the entrance and be given sanitized shopping carts. “Health Ambassadors” will be stationed at entrances to remind people to put on their masks. Social distancing will be enforced inside with capacity controls and one-way lanes.