Don’t think for a minute that Black Friday 2020 is safe from the upheaval we’ve seen this year.
Nope — 2020’s got a few holiday shopping tricks up its sleeve, and things are heating up to get super weird, although let’s face it — weird is the new normal, right?
Here are a few ways we expect this year to veer off the normal Black Friday course. Don’t worry, though — I’m including my best suggestions for making the most of it.
1. Amazon, Target, and Walmart are acting like October is the new Black Friday.
Once upon an already weird 2020, Amazon decided to scrap Prime Day — usually in July — because they were so busy delivering toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and groceries during the pandemic summer that they couldn’t manage a Prime Day sale.
Eventually, Amazon announced that Prime Day would be mid-October, and soon after that, Target announced their own sale on the exact same days. The next day, Walmart announced their own sale on those same days, plus three more days.
Long story short, these three retail giants are kicking off Black Friday in October, before Halloween, with Black Friday savings of 50% or more in certain categories. This is the earliest we’ve ever seen Black Friday prices.
What you can do about it: Make a list of items you need to buy and then decide on a price point you’d be happy with — whether it’s 40%, 50% or more off the list price. When you see this price, make the purchase even if it’s earlier in the year than you normally shop.
2. Target Black Friday is bringing you price adjustments until Christmas!
Price adjustments are generally unheard of during the Black Friday holiday and for good reason.
If every smart shopper could look over a store’s Black Friday ad and buy items they know will go on sale the day before when there’s plenty of merchandise in stock, wouldn’t we all just do that and show up a few days later, receipt in hand, to claim the lower Black Friday price? (You know we would.)
For this reason, price adjustments are rare during Black Friday. And even during non-holiday shopping, price adjustment periods are more like 7-14 days after you make a purchase.
But Target is throwing a stick of dynamite at this whole thing. They’re allowing price adjustments and price matching with online competitors for items you buy between November 1 and December 25!
What you can do about it: Shop anytime after November 1. Basically, do the scenario I gave — find out what’s going on sale when the Target Black Friday ad drops, make your purchases while there’s still stock, and then return for a price adjustment after Black Friday.
3. …Or let Paribus watch for your Target price adjustments so you don’t have to.
You can totally babysit your own Target purchases and request an adjustment when you see a price drop. But why not delegate the hassle to Paribus instead?
When you sign up for Paribus, you can kick back and let them do the hard work of watching for price drops on purchases you make from certain stores Paribus monitors (like Target).
Paribus will let you know when there’s a price drop on an item you bought from Target.com and help you request a price adjustment.
Sign me up for less time spent watching sales fluctuate and more time sipping cocoa and listening to holiday music.
Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.
4. Expect it to rain Black Friday sales until Christmas.
Once the sales start, I doubt they’ll let up.
Why? Retailers are trying to do two things at once — they’re trying to grab end-of-quarter profits through earlier sales that entice shoppers to spend sooner than normal (with the hopes that we’ll keep on spending all the way up until Christmas Eve).
But they’re also trying to spread out foot traffic coming into the stores. Online sales are the first place we’re seeing this play out, but also, running the best sales for longer periods of time removes the pressure to shop on a single day — Black Friday. Stores have always wanted crowds of shoppers, but during a pandemic, not so much.
For example, Target is offering different Black Friday deals every week, organized by category.
- Nov. 1-7: Electronics
- Nov. 8-14: Kitchen and floor care
- Nov. 15-31: Electronics, apparel, and beauty
- Nov. 22-28: Kitchen, floor care, electronics, video games, and select video game consoles
- Deal of the day: A new deal of the day throughout November
What you can do about it: Don’t be seduced by shiny new sales! Make and stick to your holiday shopping list, aiming for the price you can live with, but not gambling by waiting for a lower price that may not come. And don’t buy more than you planned to buy just because there’s a sale! You’ll risk blowing your holiday budget if you get too trigger happy with the deluge of sales we expect to see.
5. Most stores (yes, even Walmart!) will be closed on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving used to see big markdowns and an early jump to Black Friday deals — even if stores opened late in the evening, which they did.
But in 2020, stores like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s, and more will have their doors totally closed on Thanksgiving Day, breaking with a long-standing retail tradition.
(Are you cheering on this move like I am? I’m all for essential workers being home this year on Thanksgiving. After the year retail and grocery workers have had, they deserve it!)
What you can do about it: Shop online after you eat your turkey. These stores will still be offering sales, and the Internet never sleeps, Thanksgiving or not.
6. Late Amazon Prime deliveries are now a regular thing.
There used to be a day when we Prime members could set our watches by Amazon’s two-day shipping promise.
But the coronavirus pandemic pushed even Amazon to the brink. Suddenly, it became rare to get a package in two days, even for Prime members. This has gotten better as Amazon has found its bearings, hired more employees, and generally done all the things in their power to get back to shipping life as we know it.
But nobody is perfect and so Amazon still offers shipping guarantees, depending on your item. If an item doesn’t meet its particular guarantee — let’s say you bought something with a same-day delivery guarantee and it came a day later — you could get up to $5 per late shipment. It’ll show up as a credit in your Amazon account and be applied to your next order.
What you can do about it: Paribus monitors late Amazon deliveries too. Like with price adjustments, you can put Paribus on the job, and they’ll tap your shoulder when it’s time for you to reach out to Amazon to request a credit for a late shipment.
7. Curbside pickup is your new secret hack to avoid paying shipping fees.
I’ll admit it, I’m a huge fan of curbside pickup. It makes me feel like a queen who gets what she wants, when she wants it.
I get to shop online (and stay in my pajamas), avoid paying shipping fees (because, nope), and I get my item on the same day in most cases (cake + eat it too). There’s nothing to hate here.
What you can do about it: This one is a no-brainer. Never pay for shipping!
Don’t scroll up! Here are the articles I mentioned: