I'm obsessed with saving money. I rarely shop online without a coupon code, clearance signs get my adrenaline pumping, and I'm of the philosophy that paying price full-price is for chumps. Black Friday should be my dream come true, but it's far from that. The only thing stronger than my love for good deals? My absolute loathing of long lines. If you're the same, get excited. The retail giant is once again showing us how much it loves us, and Target's new "skip-the-line" mobile checkout technology is eliminating lines altogether this Black Friday.
Because lines can affect a customer's experience dramatically, businesses pay attention. Richard Larson, an MIT professor who studies "queuing theory," estimates that people spend one to two years of their lives waiting in lines, according to a 2015 Washington Post article. Additionally, the article states, "The way that businesses manage lines results in easily billions of dollars of gained and lost brand equity and consumer spending. A long and unpleasant wait can damage a customer's view of a brand, cause people to leave a line or not enter it in the first place." Target isn't messing around, and their skip-the-line technology is undoubtedly going to benefit both customers and Black Friday profits. Just keep your eyes peeled for the people in bright red shirts.
So, how exactly will you be "skipping the line" at Target this year? According to their November 1 press release, "Using specially-equipped handheld devices, team members simply scan any item in a guest’s basket or shopping cart and accept payment by credit card on the spot from anywhere in the store." No more crazy lines and mosh pits at the front of the store – which, of course, happens like clockwork every Black Friday no matter how many registers they have open. "During peak events like Black Friday, team members will be located in the busiest areas of the store, such as Electronics," states Target's press release. "This checkout technology is the latest feature built by Target’s technology team to make shopping easier for guests." And on behalf of all Target guests, we sincerely thank you.
Lines or no lines, there's no point in heading to a crazy store on Black Friday unless the deals are impressive. Target has released their Black Friday ads in preparation of the big day, so you can start prioritizing, budgeting, and gift-planning. It may sound silly, but the best thing Black Friday shoppers can do is to enter stores with a plan. Not only does a good strategy help ensure you get the deals you want most, it'll also help protect your bank account. After all, we're all familiar with the power of Target: enter for a new dish towel, leave with four pairs of shoes, a living room rug, and footie pajamas. Target is the mecca of spur of the moment purchases, and Black Friday is a normal Target trip on steroids. Planning your purchases can help prevent those impulse buys.
Target stores will be open from 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day until 1 a.m. on Friday, November 23. They'll reopen again at 7 a.m. on Friday morning. (I'm assuming that six hour break is for the employees to go home, rest up, and carbo-load.) On that note, be kind and patient with retail employees this Black Friday. It's a madhouse, and everyone's doing the best they can.
Oh, and one more major piece of advice to make your Black Friday Target experience even more efficient: don't wear red. Trust me, you'll spend half your night fielding questions about where to find Instant Pots or Beats headphones. Rookie mistake.