- With the holiday shopping season nearly upon us at the same time coronavirus cases are surging nationwide, retailers are thinking carefully about how to make stores safe for shoppers.
- Many major retailers known for door-buster deals are doing away with big Black Friday events to reduce crowding at stores.
- Companies are also implementing new safety measures like hubs near the entrance for quick returns or in-store pick-ups, enhanced cleaning measures, and limited store hours.
- In some cases, retailers are adding “social distancing ambassadors” or special greeters to help limit in-store capacity.
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This year’s holiday shopping season is going to look a lot different than years past.
As a new coronavirus wave rolls across the country and infections surge, retailers are carefully considering how to confront the busiest shopping season of the year. Gone are the door-buster deals, lines wrapped around the store, and stores opening as early as Thanksgiving night â€” in its place are enhanced cleaning measures, social distancing ambassadors, and stores encouraging contactless curbside pick-up.
With Black Friday just around the corner, here’s how major retailers across the US are implementing health and safety measures ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Bed Bath & Beyond is mandating masks, social distancing, and occupancy limits at its stores. It also has set early shopping hours for customers who are over 60 or otherwise at higher risk for COVID, and added contactless payments, cart wipes, hand sanitizer, and barriers at registers.
Source: Bed Bath & Beyond
Best Buy announced a range of measures it’s taking to make stores safer, including requiring face coverings, limiting the number of customers in the store in accordance with local guidelines, social distancing stickers on the floor, and a dedicated host at the front of the store to guide customers and manage lines.
Source: Best Buy
Costco has added special hours for shoppers over 60 and is giving priority access to store for first responders. Costco is also mandating that all shoppers wear face masks, and if they are not able to, they’re required to wear a face shield.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is spreading out its Black Friday deals over a 10-day period to avoid crowds at its stores. The company is also adding mobile checkout and return stations and technology to help it manage lines. Additionally, Dick’s stores have enhancing cleaning measures in place, sneeze guards at checkouts, capacity limits, mask mandates, and at some stores, one-way aisles.
Source: Dick’s Sporting Goods
Gap is requiring all customers to wear masks. Stores have also implemented increased cleaning and sanitation, physical distancing guides, and shields at check-outs. Gap employees are also required to complete a health check before each shift.
Source: Gap Inc.
The Home Depot is eliminating major promotions to avoid store crowding, closing stores early to allow for more time to restock shelves and sanitize, screening employees before they begin their shifts, requiring masks, and limiting the number of customers in stores. The company has also extended its return policy to 180 days after purchase.
Source: The Home Depot
JCPenney is requiring masks for shoppers and adding enhanced cleaning, social distancing reminders, and plexiglass shields at registers. Its stores will also offer curbside pick-up, contactless checkouts, and emailed receipts to reduce contact for shoppers.
Kohl’s has added contactless payments, protective barriers at registers, increased cleaning measures, and social distancing markers in stores. The company is also promising contactless drive-up pick-up where gift recipients can pick up their own gifts at stores near them.
Lowe’s is opening up aisle space by removing displays, developing its own app to track store occupancy, and adding “social distancing ambassadors” to ensure customers are staying far enough apart. Stores have also added plexiglass shields at registers, curbside pick-up, and increased cleaning.
Macy’s will offer curbside pick-up and same-day delivery through DoorDash throughout the holiday season. For customers who shop at stores, Macy’s has implemented increased air ventilation, plexiglass shields, and hand sanitizer throughout stores. Stores will also have “occupancy checks” to help avoid crowds, Macy’s says.
Michaels has reduced store hours to allow for enhanced cleaning, curbside pick-up, barriers at registers, and social distancing markers in stores. The company has also suspended in-store events to reduce foot traffic.
Nordstrom is cleaning its fitting rooms between every use, limiting store hours, capping the number of customers allowed in the store at a time, and offering contactless payments and curbside pick-up.
Old Navy and Athleta are adding service hubs at the front of their stores so customers can make returns, buy gift cards, or pick up online orders without having to wait in line. There will also be a “doorbell” feature in their mobile apps to alert the store when shoppers have arrived for curbside pick-up orders.
Source: Gap Inc.
Target added plexiglass shields, enhanced cleaning measures, and dedicated shopping hours for vulnerable people earlier this year. For the holiday season, it’s implementing contactless payments in its stores, as well as the option for shoppers to check if there’s a line at their store and reserve a spot. Target is also doubling the number of Drive Up spots, its curbside pick-up service.
T.J. Maxx requires face masks in stores and has installed protective shields at registers, enhanced its cleaning measures, and closed down dressing rooms.
Source: T.J. Maxx
Walmart has spread out its Black Friday deals to three separate events to avoid crowding at stores. The company is also offering contactless curbside pick-up and has restarted counting how many people come in its stores in order to limit capacity.
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