Robert Stevens, General Assignments Reporter
The holiday season is coming fast and with it come the deals of stores from around the world that can be the difference from spending a wealth of money to shopping smart and taking advantage of deals.
This year, the difference with Black Friday is the rules and regulations that will be put in place due to COVID-19. As cases and deaths continue to rise across the United States, retail stores are changing how they will conduct and create their unique version of Black Friday.
Pet Supplies Plus
For Pet Supplies Plus, Black Friday will be business as usual in the store. This year, the craziness that is Black Friday will be extended for an entire week. The pandemic may have hurt a lot of businesses, but Pet Supplies Plus saw a large increase in revenue thanks to their online shopping resources. This has allowed the store to take a much more relaxed approach as employee hours will be increased to meet the needs of customers regarding deals and safety.
“Nothing has changed,” Market Team Leader Tyler Harvey said. “We will be well-stocked, with signage showing all the deals we have. With enough team members to help each neighbor where necessary, nothing will need to change. The only procedures are what is required by the state.”
The store will not be departing from what has allowed them to become so successful during the pandemic in online shopping. In fact, they will be relying on it more than ever before and providing new tools for their customers to use including free delivery from the store. The store’s point of emphasis will be providing customer products without ever having to leave their home.
“The pet industry has exploded during the pandemic because people are home more frequently than in the past, which has allowed them to add to their families,” Harvey said. “This year we are delivering from the store. It’s all about getting the product in front of the neighbors for easy access.”
Walmart has been at the forefront of Black Friday shopping in the recent decade. Over the years, the company has been a staple for how to conduct business during Black Friday while changing to increase online sales and security to make the store safer.
This year will see a tremendous amount of change in regard to safety. Walmart as a corporation has seen the best and worst of people on this commercialized holiday. They recognize that for some people, COVID-19 will be the last thing on their minds when rushing to find the best deals. That means that the store will ensure their employees are ready to maintain sanitation and security for everyone in the store.
“The training involved increases every year,” a Walmart manager said. “COVID has brought more intensive cleaning and detailing for signing. There is a significant staging of items to give spacious areas for customers. The coronavirus changed the prep by twice the planning, more associates needed at the door and register coverage to space out.”
Walmart estimates their stores will be much calmer than in the past due to the overwhelming number of online purchases being made and the extension of Black Friday Deals by an entire week, including small deals sprinkled through the month of November. Two of the biggest changes being made is that certain popular products will only be available online to reduce in-store traffic in addition to Walmart being closed on Thanksgiving for the first time in years.
Tractor Supplies Company
Tractor Supplies Company is engineered to reach a target market that specializes in outdoor labor and activities. Like most stores, they will be extending their deals for the entire week surrounding Black Friday. However, they might not see a reliance on online shopping this holiday season compared to other stores. Due to this change, the store sits in a unique situation with a combination of a relaxed approach for stocking purposes while also having all hands-on deck in case they get a glimpse of past horrors.
According to Store Manager Donald Kerr, the company will be implementing a multitude of options for customers to feel comfortable and safe while shopping in the store. Based on trends of customer flow increasing, they will be handing out hand sanitizer and masks will be available to all customers. They have also made plans to direct the flow of customers to create appropriate distancing and allow associates to help where necessary. The only concern the store has is just how much flow will be coming in at the beginning of the sales. Thanks to the heavy demand for their products over the pandemic, however, they will be placing more associates than ever before to make sure the customers’ needs are met.
This Black Friday is going to be important for reasons including safety, security and health. This Black Friday could spark changes that will dictate how the shopping frenzy is handled in the future. Many associates believe this year will begin the new era of Black Friday that takes the pressure off of specific stores, employees and customers. The pandemic created the shift towards online shopping, and this Black Friday could complete the transition.