How The Pandemic Is Changing Sam's Club's Black Friday Sale

On October 8, the newsroom of Sam's Club ran an announcement detailing the company's plans for 2020's Black Friday. Based on a survey that said 61 percent of respondents would shop online for this year's holiday season — almost certainly due to the coronavirus pandemic — and 31 percent said they would be shopping earlier, Sam's Club has extended its Black Friday from its original four days into a "10 Days of Thank-Savings" event, ranging from November 20 to the 29. Similarly, they have lengthened their November Savings Event and December Savings Event to nine days, with November 7 to November 15 for the former and December 5 to December 13 for the latter.

USA Today added that the rationale for these dates also gives more shoppers more time and Sam's Club better crowd control. They quoted Tony Rogers, Sam's Club chief member officer, who explained, "We felt it was important to give our members a chance to save a lot earlier this season than in the past." He added that members especially liked the fact they would feel less rushed, a common occurrence during the hurly-burly of the savings weekend.

Additional measures Sam's Club has taken to prevent their holiday from making their customers ill include a new shipping program that allows members to order their goods online and contactless ways to shop, in which "members will be able to shop online and pick up at their club in all 597 locations."

Black Friday in the age of coronavirus

Sam's Club was actually a bit behind when it came to addressing how stores will operate during the busiest shopping season of the year. In July, AP News reported that Target would be joining Walmart in closing its store on Thanksgiving. On Target's news page, the company explained that it, like Sam's Club, would extend the savings season into October: "Let's face it: Historically, deal hunting and holiday shopping can mean crowded events, and this isn't a year for crowds. That's why our biggest holiday deals will be available earlier than ever, so you can shop safely and conveniently without worrying about missing out on deals that usually come later in the season."

Such changes are occurring while others are wondering whether the coronavirus pandemic will mark the end of the holiday. As CNBC notes, shoppers have grown increasingly ambivalent about Black Friday over recent years, preferring instead to shop online. As indicated by the measures being taken by Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart, however, neither retailers nor shoppers are giving up on the practice of autumnal savings, but are translating the price gouging to online sources and extending the period to better accommodate the new practice: "Globally, online sales are expected to grow 30 percent year over year to $940  billion this holiday season, compared with 8% growth in 2019." The legendary overnight camps will vanish, but you can still expect to safely make savings this year.