By JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Like most things this year, Black Friday shopping will be quite different amid the coronavirus pandemic.
While traditional, on-site “doorbuster” sales aren’t available this year, big-box retailers have announced plans to provide shoppers guidance on how to navigate the best deals online.
ABC News chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis also spoke with experts for top tips on getting the best deals.
Expect more online sales for Black Friday
“Retailers want to make sure that shoppers feel safe and feel comfortable,” Nerdwallet personal finance expert Kimberly Palmer told Good Morning America. “And so we’re seeing them take those steps to do that.”
With that, stores have extended sales not just on-premise, but also online. A Deloitte survey found that 64% of holiday budgets will be spent online this year.
Walmart recently announced in-store and online sales to be spread out across three events starting on Nov. 4.
Lowe’s also launched its “Season of Savings” sale events Thursday which include daily one-day deals online labeled “Cyber Steals.” Sales on everything from home products and appliances to electronics and outdoor furniture will be on sale through Dec. 2.
Updated safety measures and in-store shopping experiences
To keep shoppers safe, several retailers have made big changes to protect customers who choose to shop in-store.
Target announced new technology Thursday that will allow guests to skip waiting in line. The retailer is also offering contactless self-checkout, over 8,000 additional parking spots for contactless drive-up services and contactless same-day fulfillment options.
“You can actually reserve your spot in line,” Palmer said. “You can check ahead of time. And if there is a line, you’ll be notified. So you don’t show up and then see that it’s more crowded than you expect.”
Other stores including Nordstrom have announced extended curbside hours as well as complimentary gift-wrapping with all purchases.
Jarvis also advised that one of the best shopping tools this holiday season might be your smartphone. “Consider downloading apps for retailers where you plan to shop and signing up for the loyalty program. That will give you access to exclusive deals and discounts.”
What about return policies?
Experts advised there will be more flexibility with return policies. Shoppers can expect longer periods to make holiday returns which retailers are hoping will encourage people to spend and feel comfortable with what they are buying.
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