Target to Offer Shopping Reservations to Beat Holiday Crowds Amid Pandemic

Target is making holiday shopping not only easier but also safer amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The retailer, which has taken several precautions in recent months to ensure both customers' and employees' health and safety, has announced that it will offer shopping reservations to help customers beat the typical holiday shopping crowds.

The Minneapolis-based retailer announced a Thursday feature to its website, informing customers of its holiday shopping season practices. As the retailer began limiting the number of guests allowed in its stores to adhere to social distancing guidelines, a practice that was enacted in April, customers looking to cross items off their holiday shopping list can now beat the line entirely by making a shopping reservation. By heading to Target.com/line, accessible by clicking here, customers can see if there is a line outside of their chosen store, and, if so, can reserve a spot, so they don’t have to wait outside. The new reservation system joins other safety precautions being taken, including contactless payment more team members equipped with handheld MyCheckout devices, allowing customers to skip long checkout lines.

"Year over year, the investments we’ve made in our business and team have made Target the easiest place to shop in America. As we’ve navigated the pandemic, that focus has evolved to ensure we’re also creating the safest place for our guests to shop," CEO Brian Cornell said of the new safety measure. "As we approach the holidays, guests can feel confident in choosing Target — a safe experience, incredible value and a differentiated assortment that will help them celebrate the joy of the season."

Target, however, is taking things one step further. According to the StarTribune, this holiday shopping season will look different for more reasons than just the new shopping reservations. The retailer is opting to forego typical early morning Black Friday hours. Stores will instead only open for its normal hours on Black Friday, with Cornell, in a Wednesday afternoon call, stating, "we are taking a completely new approach to Black Friday, minimizing the event-day shopping behavior that is typical for this time of year."

To limit the typical crowds that stores across the country see on Black Friday, Target makes the annual one-day shopping event a month-long experience, offering new holiday deals throughout November. On Black Friday, the retailer will also be doubling its drive-up parking, allowing customers to order online and pick up their items at the store without having to go inside, with Cornell saying that "there's no need to shop in a crowded concentrated time frame."