How to Navigate Black Friday 2020

Woman and Dog Shopping Black Friday 2020

For decades, Black Friday has represented the kickoff for the holiday shopping season. Steep discounts on popular products often bring shoppers out in full force during the day and doorbuster sales sometimes have people leaving Thanksgiving dinner early to line up. It’s possible you even have your own Black Friday routine, like a favorite store or item you always have your eye on like clothes, tech, or gifts. In a normal year, you may have a detailed plan of action that involves crisscrossing the city and chasing the day’s best bargains.

But 2020 isn’t a typical year.

With the ongoing situation in 2020 limiting store capacities and making many shoppers leery of large crowds, you could be looking at primarily spending your Black Friday online. About 69% of Americans have shopped online before, but as far as major holiday shopping days go, about 124 million people still primarily hit the shelves in real life.

There’s nothing new about Black Friday deals showing up in-store as well as online. In 2019, $11.9 billion was spent via the internet on Thanksgiving night and Black Friday. This represented a 19.7% increase over 2017, and about 10 million more people shopped online on Black Friday than on Cyber Monday. Even before 2020, participating stores recognized that e-commerce allowed more people to shop and save.

Fortunately, retailers want to sell things just as much as you want to take advantage of those once-a-year deals. If you’ve been spending a lot of time at home, you may be wondering how you can still make the most out of the day after Thanksgiving.

Buy Online, Pick Up Curbside

Buy online, pick up in-store (sometimes shortened to BOPIS) may be the perfect middle-ground for you. This service marries the comfort and convenience of online shopping with the ability to have your item in-hand the same day you purchased it. Only the most profitable e-commerce enterprises, like Amazon, can offer same-day delivery, so having the option to pick up in-store can save you time and allow you to skip shipping costs or uncertainty (we have a little more to say about shipping later). For the safety of shoppers and employees, retailers like Kohl’s and Walmart are now offering no-contact curbside pickup for items purchased via their website.

Look for Free Shipping on Black Friday

If you want or need to have items shipped to you, remember that any online Black Friday deal worth its salt will have free shipping included in the deal. Full stop. Some retailers may have minimum totals that you need to spend, for instance: “Free shipping on orders over $45.” In these cases, you should certainly use your discretion. You can cross these thresholds pretty fast if you’re purchasing multiple items from the same retailer, but if you don’t, you will need to weigh the cost of shipping against the discount you are receiving to see if it’s really worth it.

Make Your Purchases Early

Because of an increased load on shipping networks, merchants are concerned about even heavier traffic hitting closer to Christmas. Since this could impact their ability to ship items and have them arrive on time for the world’s largest gift-giving holiday, merchants are trying to make early shopping appealing.

Black Friday sales are already being advertised online in order to encourage shoppers to check off items on their Christmas list now. Some Black Friday deals have already begun at places like Best Buy and Walmart, meaning that the holiday shopping season is functionally already here. This gives you more options than ever before to save on gifts for family or treats for yourself.

You Might Just Want to Save Some Things for Cyber Monday

While many Black Friday deals are always announced early, Cyber Monday deals are not typically advertised until after Black Friday or even that following Monday morning. Although younger than its sibling sales day, Cyber Monday still boasts sales impressive enough to bring out 83.3 million shoppers in 2019, only about 10 million short of Black Friday’s online numbers from the same time period. Since you’re shopping online anyway this year, if a sale on an item you want seems underwhelming, it could be worth checking back on Cyber Monday for items like clothes and laptops.

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