Target launches new safety measures, including not opening early on Black Friday

You can check to see if there's a line, order more items to be picked up, and more options for contactless store paying.

Target is implementing new measures and tech to enhance customer safety during the holiday shopping season, including not opening early on Black Friday. 

The Minneapolis-based retailer will open at 7 a.m. (a normal opening time for most stores already) on Black Friday in an attempt to limit door-buster crowds this season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Target, among other retailers, already said it wouldn't be open on Thanksgiving and would extend Black Friday deals for the entire month of November to limit crowds.

In previous years, Target would either stay open overnight from Thanksgiving Day into Black Friday, or stay open till 1 a.m. before closing for a few hours and reopening at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m.

“We are taking a completely new approach to Black Friday minimizing the event-day shopping behavior that is typical for this time of year,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a Wednesday afternoon call, according to the Star Tribune.

Meanwhile, Target on Thursday announced a slew of additional safety measures aimed at keeping customers safe while they shop during the busy holiday season, including new technology so shoppers don't have to wait in line and expanded contactless pickup options.

“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,” Cornell said in a news release

“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," he added.

The new measures make it easier for those who choose to shop in the store or via the Target app. Here's what's new, according to a news release: 

  • Reserve a spot in line: In order to make sure there is enough space for people to shop safely in a store, Target – when needed – limits the number of people in the store. Target has launched a website so people can see if there's a line outside, and if there is one you can reserve a spot in line. You'll get a text when it's their turn to go into the store.
  • Contactless in-store paying: Shoppers can use Wallet, the mobile payment option in the Target app, for contactless checkout through the self-checkout or with a team member.
  • More MyCheckout devices: Target is adding 1,000 more MyCheckout devices at its stores across the U.S. so shoppers can check out anywhere in the store with a Target employee and avoid waiting in line.
  • More items to choose from when ordering same-day: Target has expanded the items people can order through Order Pickup and Drive-Up to include "thousands of gifts and all of the ingredients for holiday meals," the release says. It has also added clothing to the items available with same-day delivery via Shipt.
  • More Drive-Up spots, no barcode scanning: Target is doubling the number of parking spots for its popular Drive-Up feature, which allows people to order things through the Target app and have them brought to their cars. In addition, Target has eliminated the need to scan a barcode during pickup – shoppers just need to show their app through the window to confirm their Drive-Up order.
  • Decide last minute between Order Pickup and Drive-Up: Target has updated its app to allow shoppers to change if they want to pick up the items they ordered through the Order Pickup (where you go inside the store) or Drive-Up, even after you get to the store. 

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