Black Friday mutates along with the pandemic | News – Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California 2020-11-21 22:00:00 –

A shopper recently went to Valley Plaza Macy thinking she knew what she wanted in her autumn wardrobe, a small sign of how different this year’s Black Friday is, but she Turned out to be all wrong.

After three hours of personal attention and a private changing room, the woman left in clothes she never imagined she was wearing — and was amazed by the words of stylist Monica Guzman, who helped her. I did.

This holiday shopping season will be noteworthy, not just because Macy’s has begun offering personal stylist services. Data show that online shoppers may be the first year than stores, and perhaps for the first time in decades, most people expect to spend less on gifts than in the previous year.

Other changes that shoppers see include pandemic safety measures such as increased availability of non-contact curbside pickups. Also, as Kern County has returned to the most restrictive levels of pandemic precautions, stores and malls need to monitor and limit the size of the crowd, as never before this year.

Another big difference is that aggressive promotions and price cuts that started late at night on Thanksgiving, rather than a one-day sale or a week-long event, actually started last month, and in some cases earlier. That is.

Acceleration of trends

In a sense, the pandemic has accelerated the trend that retail analysts have been paying attention to for many years. Consumers who liked to try on clothes before buying and were late in accepting e-commerce couldn’t find another option this spring. It is expected that many will never go back to shopping directly.

Until last year, two-thirds to three-quarters of all holiday shopping was done over-the-counter, said Jordan Cohen, chief marketing officer for the Maine-based WhatIf Media Group. Based on the trajectory of the time, he did not expect online sales to overtake in-store shopping until 2025 or 2026.

“As a result of COVID, we have accelerated the watch like’Back to the Future II’,” he said, adding that the shift will continue to make online shopping the mainstream of holiday shopping next year.

That doesn’t mean that locals and small businesses have to miss out on the surge in online shopping. He said shopping, especially in suburban communities, continues to be seen as an important social interaction.

Small business optimism

Union Bank survey data confirms that idea. Fifty-one percent of California respondents found that they were ready to pay an additional $ 20 for items to help small businesses and local businesses. Seven out of ten said getting the best deal wasn’t as important as helping small businesses.

Cohen emphasized the importance of SMEs staying focused on communication and engagement and their contributions to the community, including customer service and donations.

The bad news for retailers, he said, is that consumers aren’t willing to spend much this year.

Having been in data-driven marketing for 20 years, Cohen says most shoppers will typically spend as many holiday gifts as last year in the survey. Not this year: Most people said it would be less — and because they suffered a loss of income due to the pandemic or were worried they might still do so.

Another notable difference this year is when retailers started discounting their products. Online trading surged in midsummer, even before the current wave of trading arrived last month.

Early start

The National Retail Federation reported its findings on Monday, suggesting that 40% of holiday shoppers started buying gifts earlier than usual. Three in five showed that they were already starting to remove items from their shopping list.

That trend has led Coles to launch its official Black Friday sale earlier than ever, with everything from Keurig coffee makers to Fitbit Versa2 smartwatches trading today.

Wal-Mart said it has expanded its season’s best bargain, Black Friday, from online to three separate dates in stores, with a previously announced intent to “meet the evolving needs of its customers.” ..

The first kicked off on November 4th and the second on November 11th. The last rest of the three launches will only start at 4 pm the day before Thanksgiving and will hit the shelves at 5 am the next day.

Macy’s manager Dina Kota emphasized that she strives to keep the holiday shopping experience as normal as possible, despite the need for pandemic safety measures.

Ensuring safety

According to her, there are store homes, cashier plexiglass dividers, additional cleaning at the hand sanitizer station throughout the store, and online shopping with store delivery options and non-contact curved side pickups.

But in line with tradition, Macy’s will continue its annual Believe campaign. In this campaign, customers of all ages will be asked to write to Santa. For each letter it receives, the company will donate $ 1 to a Make-A-Wish charity, for a total of up to $ 1 million.

“We’re still trying to keep that up,” she said. “We will make (holiday) as normal as possible.”

Macy’s stylist Guzman, who started in her position in September, sees himself as Jack in all departments and is ready to help people who make reservation shops for everything from furniture to shoes to gift cards. ..

Her new role has allowed her to stay in close contact with customers who interact using phone, email and Instagram (her handle is “”). At one point, the connection allowed her to notify the customer that the sweater she was looking at was back for sale.

“She came back after all, and bought two of them,” Guzman said.

Follow John Cox on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf

Black Friday mutates along with the pandemic | News Source link Black Friday mutates along with the pandemic | News

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