In a pandemic-restricted world, many questions surround the post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping crush somewhat dubiously dubbed Black Friday. Will crowds actually flood physical stores this year, vying for the season’s best deals? Is Black Friday now just the beginning of Cyber Monday, since most people likely won’t want to brave the in-person crowds? And when does Black Friday officially begin, as retailers keep moving their sales up by hours, days and even weeks?
As far as that first question goes, what we do know is that Black Friday will look different in 2020, building on the trend of the last few years of more and more shoppers ditching retail lines and instead heading online in search of the best holiday shopping deals. A recent report from Deloitte forecasts that 2020 e-commerce holiday shopping will increase by 25-35 percent over last year, generating between $182 billion and $196 billion in sales. What’s more, a recent report from DealAid.org found that 60 percent of consumers plan to shop in-store this holiday season, a 31 percent drop from the 87 percent of consumers who did so in 2019.
It’s no wonder, then, that many are declaring Black Friday over this year, as retailers have responded to the predicted shifts in consumer behavior by starting their holiday sales early. Some are even holding multiple waves of “Black Friday” sales to minimize crowds, while ramping up incentives to shop online this year.
Feeling overwhelmed by the “new normal” of Black Friday 2020? Worry not, as there’s something you may be holding in your hands at this very moment that can help: your phone!
From coordinating curbside pickup and shipping logistics to keeping track of the best online holiday deals, here’s a look at five ways your device can help you make the most of this year’s holiday shopping season.
Your phone can help with all the logistics around your holiday purchases by allowing you to schedule a curbside pickup or manage your deliveries.
Keep an eye on when deals start.
Some retailers are holding “Black Friday” events that have started as early as the first week in November, and others are offering rolling waves of sales featuring different deals on different days. Take it from those who missed out on the first wave of PS5 offerings: Put any holiday sales that interest you in your phone’s calendar app, and set reminders on the day of to be first in the digital line for deals.
Beware of Black Friday and Cyber Monday scams.
With more people shopping online this festive season, there is ample opportunity for digital fraud. Holiday shopping scams can come in the form of suspicious texts or emails promising over-the-top Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, links to fake promotions on social channels, or even phone calls advertising sales that really are too good to be true. For more advice on how you can keep safe, check out: “A Security Expert Takes on Phone Scams and How to Avoid Them During COVID-19,” which highlights how tools like T-Mobile’s Scam Shield and other precautions can help stop fraudsters in their tracks.
Make a list, and check it twice!
List apps on your phone can help you keep track of who’s on your holiday gift list, and scout different retailers for gift ideas well ahead of when the sales start. Popular list apps include ToDoist, Asana, Evernote, TikTik and 2Do.
Sign up for newsletters spreading holiday cheer ... and promo codes.
Many retailers will offer special promo codes or early access to deals if you sign up for their email newsletters. These newsletters can also alert you to holiday sales well before they begin. Create a folder in your email app to keep track of any deal announcements and promotions your go-to retailers are offering. This will also help you plan ahead to take advantage of the biggest holiday deals before you’re too late.
Be a logistics leader.
Your phone can help with all the logistics around your holiday purchases by allowing you to schedule a curbside pickup or manage your deliveries. You can download various retailer apps to schedule your contactless pickup and track your shipments via the USPS, FedEx, UPS or DHL mobile apps. And speaking of shipping, the USPS and other shipping services are on track to be overwhelmed this year by the amount of holiday shopping expected to be done online. You can use your device to find the best deals near you so you can shop locally to help minimize the pressure on the post office.