Best Buy on Thursday joined other retailers in announcing a holiday promotion taking place the same days as Amazon Prime Day this year, Oct. 13-14.
The electronics retailer said it's making "dozens of deals" from its "not-yet-released Black Friday ad" available during that time, according to a company press release.
Walmart and Target in recent weeks have also announced sales events taking place on or near Prime Day.
Amazon won't be lonely during its specially contrived sales holiday this year.
None of these rivals is mentioning Prime Day by name, but it's clear that they are loath to allow the e-commerce giant to have consumers' attention all to itself. Best Buy appears to be so intent on getting noticed that it's willing to spoil its own Black Friday ad's cover story, a 70-inch Samsung 4K Smart TV for $529.99.
But the retailer is saving some temptations for later, saying in its release that the rest of the ad, and its deals, "will come later this month." That's part of a wider effort to spread holiday purchasing out, according to Tyson Cornell, PwC Consumer Markets Industry Lead.
"We are seeing a general trend within the industry of launching earlier-than-ever promotions to spread out sales over the next few months (versus focusing on a few key dates)," he said in an email. "Doing so will help regulate in-store traffic in an effort to keep shoppers safe and socially distanced, while ensuring warehouses can accommodate an influx of online orders — which we expect consumers to utilize in greater numbers than ever before."
Along with stealing some of Amazon's Prime Day spotlight, Best Buy and the others are hoping to get a jump on a holiday season that promises to be heavy on e-commerce, a channel that has suffered fulfillment delays and other supply chain issues due to the pandemic. Delays would be a particularly worrisome problem at the holidays, which have a firm deadline and carry emotional weight with most consumers.
Further, Best Buy on Thursday said it will continue to limit the number of its customers in its stores at once even during the holidays, an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing. All customers are required to wear masks, the company also said.
But it's not all about limitations: The company is enticing customers to shop early with an extended return policy and a price guarantee on some items.
In another nod to the pandemic and many consumers' ongoing anxiety about in-store shopping, Best Buy also took the opportunity to emphasize the safety precautions at its stores and opportunities for contactless curbside pickup. PwC found that this year consumers will do most of their holiday shopping online (61%). The vast majority (81%) will opt for select home delivery, but 35% plan to use curbside pickup, which is up 12% year over year.
Such fulfillment options have been crucial for the retailer, where some 60% of what the retailer sells flows through its physical locations — via in-store sales, BOPIS sales or ship-from-store, according to CEO Corie Barry.