PROPERTY NEWS - With the safety of customers the most important factor, retailers are approaching the Black Friday shopping frenzy in a different manner.
Over the years videos have surfaced of shoppers going crazy during Black Friday specials, both locally and internationally as hoards of people queue to find the best deals, especially on electronics.
Originating in the US, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and the trend quickly caught on throughout the world, including South Africa in recent years.
What about Covid-19?
Due to Covid-19 restrictions and stores having to restrict numbers of customers, this year’s Black Friday on 27 November will be different.
While South Africa is still on level one and the State of Disaster appears to be extended till further presidential announcements, numerous retailers have taken it upon themselves to put safety measures in place to allow customers a safe and full shopping experience.
What to expect from local retailers:
Massmart (Game, Makro)
Brian Leroni, Massmart corporate affairs executive, said: “Black Friday traditionally sees high concentrations of shoppers in retail stores across the country, which can create a challenging shopping environment. Therefore, we have taken the decision to reimagine the way we do Black Friday in 2020.
In an effort to create a more consumer-friendly Black Friday experience while adhering to all Covid-19 and social distancing protocols, Makro and Game have taken the decision to extend the duration of our Black Friday promotion.”
The chain will be making its Black Friday offering a monthly special so as not to cause hordes of shoppers to flock to the stores at the same time.
Game will be increasing its staff levels staff from 2 to 29 November with differing weekly specials.
It has also partnered with Uber Eats to deliver small electronics and essential goods and offering unprecedented one-cent deals.
Game vice-president Andrew Stein says: “2020 has been a transformative year for most sectors and retail, particularly, has undergone massive shifts. In order to ensure we are able to keep our staff and customers safe, while providing a positive customer experience, we took the decision to rethink the way we approach Black Friday, one of the biggest events on our calendar.” Part of this includes the 1cent surprise sale that first began in 2019.
The 1cent sales offer customers the option to buy selected items in store or online for just one cent on randomly-selected products on checkout.
Dis-Chem Pharmacies executive director Saul Saltzman said Dischem would be making a week of it by offering specials from the 23rd to the 29th.
“We are acutely aware of the impact the prolonged lockdown period has had on consumers and that people are feeling the financial pinch. As a direct result and in an effort to provide more value across a much wider range of categories, we have expanded the range of Black Friday goods in all our stores.”
As the weeks progress the store will roll out its full plan and reveal specials online.
Numerous retailers have opted to go the online route in order to allow shoppers the convenience of buying from home. Clothing retailer Mr Price has already set up a directional webpage.
The clothing and décor retailer says it’s taking a different direction this year by encouraging shoppers to download the app and register to receive three-day-long deals.
It will further be extended the offering to 1 December (Cyber Monday). The retailer says it has taken financial constraints into account with tips on how to shop ahead of time in order to accommodate more modest budgets.
With the economic and financial climate of job losses, many are living under threat of retrenchment, so it’s important these factors are considered in the offering of Black Friday deals. This year’s shopping holiday will certainly be a one of a kind.
Upmarket retailer Woolworths has created a cryptic webpage that lures customers in. The concept is very “lock and key” and encourages shoppers to sign up in order not to miss a deal. Woolworths is encouraging online shopping for specials and says this is its biggest shopping month.
Previously, shoppers queued to buy baby products and washing soap. With harder times these will still be essential items and it’s speculated that many shoppers will still be purchasing these sorts of items.
Checkers says it will be offering deals on big ticket items such as appliances and gadgets. The retailer is encouraging customers to plan what they will be buying before going to the store and to find their nearest store for convenience. Planning is a measure of preventing over-crowding due to the pandemic.
The store has an online app and deals that are sent regularly over Whatsapp to registered shoppers, allowing them to ride the digital wave in numerous formats. Many shoppers use the period to purchase goods and gadgets they usually can’t afford, such as TVs and fridges.
It is advisable to double check the prices as some aren’t always as deeply discounted as much as they seem to be. Shopping euphoria may make items appear more enticing than they really are.
Online retailer Takealot is known for incredibly affordable Black Friday specials, called Blue Dot Sales.
With a similar approach to the website where specials are under lock and key, some of its advice to online shoppers is to create a wish list and fill it with desired products.
These prices will adjust and potentially drop as the sale happens and shoppers can then check out items in their wish list.
Promoting the buying of household gadgets and appliances seems to be the direction Amazon is taking online. The online giant has already placed Black Friday items on its site with slashed prices. The online retailer is serious about offering discounts and items will be refreshed every five minutes during the Black Friday sale week.
Other items on the Black Friday list are flight tickets and travel reservations. This may be a challenge this year, with overseas travel restrictions changing monthly. Booking that dream holiday overseas might not happen this year.
Travel retailer Flight Centre says on its web page it doesn’t have any Black Friday deals. This could be understandable as the travel industry is under strain and travel is subject to pandemic restrictions.
Here’s a look at last year’s madness: