Walmart is gearing up for the busy holiday shopping season with big plans ahead.
On Wednesday, the retail giant announced a reinvented Black Friday savings events that will include huge deals as well as a safer, more convenient shopping experience beginning online Nov. 4. Sales will continue throughout the month of November through three different events.
Three key areas of Walmart's "Black Friday Deals for Days" incorporate earlier discounts that will be different online and in-store, the option to pick up online Black Friday orders through contact-free curbside pickup and upgraded safety protocols.
As shopping interests have shifted toward "new normal" essentials such as athleisure, sleepwear, exercise equipment and outdoor needs, Walmart is also making sure to increase inventory on these gifts.
There will also be more pet supplies, toys and items for the home, including more than 1,300 new toys, more than 3 million pet beds and an increased availability on kitchen appliances.
"Customers trust Walmart to deliver an amazing Black Friday year after year," said Scott McCall, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S., in a statement. "Although this year’s event looks different, our commitment to what our customers depend on us for -- the absolute best prices of the season on hot gifts from top brands -- hasn't changed."
He continued, “I'm really excited that this year, when it matters most to our customers, we're offering them more convenient and safer ways to shop Black Friday at Walmart, whether that's from the shelf in one of our stores, ordering online and picking it up curbside or having it delivered right to their front door."
Walmart Black Friday Deals for Days events
Event 1 - Deals begin online Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. ET and new deals will be available in stores on Nov. 7 starting at 5 a.m. ET.
During the first event, shoppers can score savings on a mix of brands such as Roku, Magic Bullet and more.
Event 2 - Deals begin online Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. ET and new deals will be available in stores on Nov. 14 starting at 5 a.m. ET.
The second event will feature discounted prices on electronics, mobile devices, movies, music, apparel and more.
Event 3 - Deals begin online Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. ET and new deals will be available in stores on Nov. 27 starting at 5 a.m. ET.
The third event will include more savings on electronics, toys, home, seasonal decor and more.
"We've been very thoughtful as we planned this year's event," added McCall. "By spreading deals out across multiple days and making our hottest deals available online, we expect the Black Friday experience in our stores will be safer and more manageable for both our customers and our associates."
Upgraded Safety Measures
Like many other retailers, Walmart has taken steps to ensure customer safety amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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There are reduced store hours, required face coverings, sneeze guard plastic barriers at pharmacies and checkout counters, traffic management and social distancing floor decals.
The company is also planning to direct customers to form single straight lines to enter the store where sanitized shopping carts will be handed out by staff. Everyone will also be directed to shop down the right-hand side of aisles to allow for more social distancing and safety.
Additionally, shoppers can opt for contactless pickup or delivery services or contactless payments in-store with Walmart Pay or the Walmart app.
With the uptick in online sales post-pandemic, Walmart is planning to hire more than 20,000 seasonal employees to fulfill increased demand for the holidays.
Hires will be immediate with shifts scheduled as soon as 48 hours after applying and will continue through Jan. 1, 2021. There also will be opportunities to convert to full-time employment.
"The holidays are always a special time, and this year, we think the season will mean even more to our customers," said Walmart U.S. Executive Vice President Greg Smith in a statement. "As more of them turn to online shopping, we want to ensure we're staffed and ready to help deliver that special gift to their loved ones while continuing to fulfill our customer's everyday needs."
He continued, "We're also proud to be able to continue to provide employment opportunities across the country when it's needed most."
The news of Walmart's holiday plans comes shortly after the megastore announced Walmart+, which is a membership program that offers customers unlimited free delivery from stores on more than 160,000 products along with a host of other in-store benefits.
Editor's Note: This story originally published on September 23, 2020.