Black Friday or Cyber Monday? This year in Memphis it could be hard to tell the two apart
It goes without saying that the 2020 holiday shopping season will look different from years past.
While Black Friday sales still abound, so will the hand sanitizer stations, social distancing floor stickers and plexiglass dividers at cash registers that have become the norm in recent months. And more stores than ever are offering free shipping or curbside pickup options to entice shoppers uncomfortable with visiting stores in person.
National chains and locally-owned businesses alike are trying to make holiday shopping easier than ever, hoping to attract the same number of customers as in years past, even if they never set foot in a store. Many are relying on longer-lasting sales to draw a wider customer pool, rather than in the usual frenetic — and sometimes violent — shopping blitzes of years past.
Locally, Buff City Soap has been encouraging online orders and advertising sales on the brand’s Facebook page. Bella Vita in Germantown is offering curbside pickup and free local delivery by store associates, in addition to traditional shipping options for online orders. Luxe Boutique on South Main is offering pickup options for online orders.
Though they aren’t necessarily new for the holiday season, those tactics are already bearing fruit for many stores. According to the National Retail Federation, 59% of people surveyed in early November said they had already started their holiday shopping. Of those, 42% said they started shopping earlier this year than last year.
According to NRF, retail sales across the country were up 10.6% in October from the same month last year. NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said those encouraging numbers gave him the sense that the holiday shopping season was proceeding relatively normally.
“The steady expansion of retail sales is good news against the background of these unusual economic circumstances and climbing virus cases in recent weeks,” he said. “Early holiday shopping appears to have supported October’s increase in sales.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has encouraged online shopping and curbside pickup options, classifying in-person shopping in crowded areas as a risky activity.
Oak Court Mall marketing director Ebony Gunn said additional sanitizing stations had been added to the mall and a supply of masks for shoppers who arrive without face coverings. A new “retail to go” parking area has also been set up for curbside pickup.
“The health and safety of our guests is a top priority and we will continue to take extra measures to provide a clean and safe environment,” Gunn said. “(We) will have security on-site to provide (for) any guests who may have forgotten their masks as we do not want to turn anyone around, but do want everyone to feel safe.”
However, some holiday traditions remain, she said. Santa will still be at the mall to hear wish lists and pose for photos from a safe distance, though online reservations are recommended this year to facilitate contactless payment for pictures and reduce lines. The mall will also have carolers and live music to get shoppers in the holiday spirit.
And the few retailers that have always been closed on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, like REI, will be closed this year as well.
Many big-box retailers have been spacing out online sales throughout the month of November, many of which continue into the weekend after Thanksgiving. But if you prefer to see something in person before spending your hard-earned money on it, there will be in-store sales, too.
Bed, Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, GameStop, 比特币合约交易地址_合约交home Depot, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Michaels, Old Navy, Target, the Tanger Outlets in Southaven, Ulta and Walmart will be open on Black Friday only, though Old Navy stores will open at midnight.
Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's and Big Lots will be open on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Corinne Kennedy covers economic development, soccer and COVID-19’s impact on hospitals for the Commercial Appeal. She can be reached via email at Corinne.Kennedy@shujwhcb.com or at 901-297-3245.