As many shoppers have witnessed, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has created a need for retailers to rethink the overall shopping experience to limit the opportunity for the virus to spread.
Many retailers, such as Walmart, had devised various systems and protocols, but with the busy holiday shopping season fast approaching, fear is that the current protocols may not be enough. To this end, Walmart and others are now rolling back to the precautions they formed in the pandemic's earlier days
The precaution in specific is that of limiting the number of shoppers permitted in the store at one time to that of 20 percent. This limiting of customer numbers seemed to work well when they started it earlier in the year. However, the idea is rife with complications for its use during the holiday season.
The Black Friday shopping experience is stressful enough as is, but having shoppers wait outside the store in line will only heighten those stress levels. Everyone knows that Black Friday is undoubtedly the most-shopped day of the year, and with it is the arrival of massive crowds of shoppers.
Considering the reality of this, the newly implemented Black Friday experience at Walmart will now spread out over three days, with three separate events, all scattered throughout the entire month of November.
In a statement released by Scott McCall, the chief merchandising officer at Walmart: "Customers trust Walmart to deliver an amazing Black Friday year after year. Although this year's event looks different, our commitment to what our customers depend on us for—the absolute best prices of the season on hot gifts from top brands—hasn’t changed.”
The retail giant has said that each of the three events will first begin online rather than in person. This move will encourage shoppers to find their deals while shopping safely from their homes during the pandemic.
During the in-store event days, Walmart plans to open their stores earlier. In response to the pandemic earlier in the year, the retailer chose to shorten their store hours, with most of their 24-hour stores opening from 7 am to 8 pm. However, during the three event days, Walmart will be opening its doors at 5 am, but on the three specified days only.
Finally, Walmart will encourage shoppers to use the retailers' online website and then pick their Black Friday deals up curbside. This move will cut down even more on the number of shoppers waiting to enter the stores to conduct their holiday shopping.
Will this new system run as smoothly as Walmart seems to think it will?