Industry Research

How COVID-19 Will Change Black Friday 2020

Like most things in 2020, Black Friday will be different. This year, retailers will embrace mobile applications and curbside pickup technology to make shopping safer and more convenient.

In 2019, consumers spent nearly $70 billion on Black Friday weekend. However, in 2020, retailers cannot count on hordes of consumers to pack stores.

As a result, retailers will leverage software to make shopping safer and possible from any location. They will also move sales to earlier dates to allow consumers to shop over time in smaller crowds.

An overview of major retailer plans for Black Friday is below. The plans of eight individual retailers follow, along with information about their mobile applications and curbside pickup processes.

Technology Adoption During the Pandemic

The need to interact remotely in 2020 has accelerated the adoption of various types of technology, and led to many shifts consumer behavior. In some cases, we can expect these trends to reverse when the world returns to a more normal state. In other cases, these trends will remain permanent.

Shifts in consumer behavior have been well documented in several industries:

  • At-home fitness services, like Pelaton, have seen surging demand for their products (WSJ)
  • Video conferencing solutions such as Zoom have seen a five fold increase in downloads (Reuters)
  • Restaurants have opened delivery-first concepts without dining rooms (Washington Post)

As major retailers prepare for Black Friday, they are adopting new technologies to adapt for similar changes in consumer behavior. Mobile applications and curbside pickup are one emerging trend that will drive a considerable percentage of transactions.

Home Depot recently announced that for the "for the first time, The Home Depot mobile app users will have exclusive access to view deals in November before they go live online." Bed Bath & Beyond has reported that consumers buying online and picking up in-store or curbside – services it launched during the pandemic – are already driving 15% of all digital sales.

Major Retailer Plans for Black Friday 2020

We researched Black Friday plans for eight of the top 40 retailers in the United States. We found that almost all retailers plan to use the combination of mobile applications and curbside pickup to adapt their Black Friday experiences for the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the majority of retailers are holding sales earlier than normal, holding multiple sales, or both.

RetailerCurbside PickupBlack Friday Sale Dates
Bed Bath & BeyondYes
  • October 16-December 23rd
  • November 2-December 25
Best BuyYes
  • October 13-14th
  • November 27th
BJ's Wholesale ClubYes
  • October 13-14th
  • October 20-21st
  • November 5-30th
Home DepotYes
  • November through December
Macy'sYes
  • Mid-November, exact dates TBA
NordstromYes
  • November 27th
TargetYes
  • November 27th
WalmartYes
  • November 4-7th
  • November 11-14th
  • November 25-27th

Sale dates, curbside pickup details, mobile application ratings & links are listed below for each retailer. All eight retailers offer mobile apps on both Apple and Android devices, with a rating between 3.9/5.0 and 4.9/5.0. These applications can all handle several supply chain scenarios including standard eCommerce, ship-to-store, and contactless curbside pickup.

Retailers mobile applications by device and app store rating

Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond is starting Black Friday early this year, with holiday gifts launching on October 16th and daily flash sales launching on November 2nd. The company is encouraging customers to buy online & pick up in-store, or pick up online orders curbside – services it launched during the pandemic. The company shared that these two services already make up 15% of its digital sales.

Sale Dates
  • October 16-December 23rd: Holiday gifts three days per week
  • November 2-December 25: Daily flash sales
Curbside Pickup
  • Yes
Curbside Pickup Instructions
  • Choose your item, then click or tap the Pick It Up button.
  • During online checkout, confirm your store location and pickup person.
  • When you get a confirmation email or text from us, head over. Tap I am at the store in your email or app.
  • For Curbside, pop your trunk and they will bring your items out.
Same-Day Pickup
  • Ready less than two hours after confirmation
Mobile Application

Best Buy

Best Buy is kicking off Black Friday on October 13th alongside Amazon. Shoppers can use Best Buy's mobile application to access Best Buy's curbside pickup option, which is now available in most stores. While many purchased items are ready within one hour, larger appliances and electronics will likely take longer.

Sale Dates
  • October 13-14th
  • November 27th
Curbside Pickup
  • Yes, in most stores
Curbside Pickup Instructions
  • On the Review and Place Your Order screen inside of the app, select Use Curbside Pickup and place your order.
  • You’ll receive an email when your order is ready with instructions on how to find the Curbside Pickup area, and how to let Best Buy know that you've arrived.
Same-Day Pickup
  • Yes – items are ready as quickly as one hour
Mobile Application

BJ's Wholesale Club

BJ's Wholesale Club announced that it will have its traditional Black Friday sale on Friday, November 27th. The retailer is now offering contactless curbside pickup via its mobile application, free pick up in-club, delivery from BJs.com, and same-day grocery deliveries.

Sale Dates
  • October 13-14th
  • October 20-21st
  • November 5-30th
Curbside Pickup
  • Yes
Curbside Pickup Instructions
  • Members can order from thousands of items on BJs.com or on the BJ’s app and have the items delivered right to their car.
  • Once notified that an order is ready for pickup, members simply park in one of the designated, curbside parking spaces and check in on the BJ’s app to notify the club of their arrival.
  • A team member will then bring the order out and load it into the vehicle for contactless service.
Same-Day Pickup
  • Same or next day pickup
Mobile Application

Home Depot

Home Depot recently announced that for the first time ever, their Black Friday prices will be available throughout the holiday season. Another first is that Home Depot's mobile app users will have exclusive access to deals in November before they go live online. While Home Depot does offer curbside pickup, it is only available in select stores until 6pm.

Sale Dates
  • November through December
Curbside Pickup
  • Yes, in select stores
Curbside Pickup Instructions
  • Choose the Store Pickup option on the product page or in your cart.
  • Once the order is processed, you'll be notified when it's ready and can then pick up your item in the designated Curbside Pickup location.
Same-Day Pickup
  • Yes, for smaller and more commonly available items
Mobile Application

Macy's

Earlier this year, Macy's indicated that it will be releasing its Black Friday deals earlier than ever. The company is encouraging customers to shop using Macys.com and Macy's mobile applications. Curbside pickup is available in most Macy's locations.

Sale Dates
  • Mid-November, exact dates TBA
Curbside Pickup
  • Yes, at most locations (check your location here)
Curbside Pickup Instructions
  • Add items to your bag and select Pick Up at checkout.
  • You’ll receive an email when your order is ready, then you can choose to get it In Store or Curbside.
Same-Day Pickup
  • Most in-stock items are available within two hours
Mobile Application

Nordstrom

Nordstrom announced that it will have its traditional Black Friday sale on Friday, November 27th. Its mobile application can be used for contactless curbside pickup.

Sale Dates
  • November 27th
Curbside Pickup
  • Yes, at most stores
Curbside Pickup Instructions
  • Choose Pick Up when shopping online to find items available near you.
  • They'll let you know when your order is ready.
  • When you get to the store, they'll bring your order out to you, so you can be on your way.
Same-Day Pickup
  • Same or next day pickup
Mobile Application

Target

Target is holding Black Friday on the traditional day – Friday, November 27th. Shoppers can use Target's mobile application to access Target's curbside pickup option, known as Drive Up. Shoppers can also order pickup eligible items on Target.com and switch the order to Drive Up using the mobile application.

Sale Dates
  • November 27th
Curbside Pickup
  • Yes
Curbside Pickup Instructions
  • Order with Drive Up in the Target App and they'll bring your purchase to your car for free
Same-Day Pickup
  • Yes – items are ready within four hours
Mobile Application

Walmart

This year, Walmart is splitting Black Friday into three different holiday sales events. Each event will take place in November, and will start online before moving into physical stores. Walmart is taking other safety precautions for in-store shoppers, such as opening at 5am and metering customers into the store to reduce congestion.

Sale Dates
  • November 4-7th: toys, electronics, home products
  • November 11-14th: TVs, smartphones, computers
  • November 25-27th: general sale
Curbside Pickup
  • Yes
Curbside Pickup Instructions
  • You can place an order for curbside pickup via the Walmart app or Walmart's website.
  • At checkout, select Pickup as your delivery option, then select a time slot for pickup.
Same-Day Pickup
  • Yes – most items are available within four hours
Mobile Application
Bruce Hogan

Bruce Hogan is Co-founder & CEO of SoftwarePundit, a technology research firm that provides advice, information, and tools to help businesses thrive. Bruce has experience investing at multi-billion dollar private equity firms, leading teams at venture-backed Internet companies, and launching new businesses.

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