Safety first, bargains second this Black Friday

It’s that time of year when bargain hunters sharpen their elbows for the much-anticipated Black Friday sales and one thing is for sure: 2020’s event is going to look very different from anything we’ve seen before.

There’s a strong likelihood that the majority of this year’s Black Friday sales will take place online, with people too concerned about Covid-19 to risk queuing up for bargains. For the ones that do, infection control protocols will mean their shopping experience is a far cry from the heaving crowds we’re used to seeing.

Heading into this year’s event, retailers with physical stores may need to invest in more advertising than normal to make sure consumers know the sales are still going ahead, and to advise of any changes to usual procedures.

We’re predicting that instead of a one-day bonanza, Black Friday 2020 will be a more prolonged event aimed at reducing the usual big crowds and encouraging people to shop in a safer and more leisurely manner.

Some stores may host Black Friday events at selected locations only, leaving other stores with capacity to cater for the elderly and vulnerable to run errands more safely. Others may run their sales for weeks instead of days to spread the number of visitors out over an extended period of time, and encourage alternative ways to shop such as ordering online for in-store collection or curb-side pickup.

Making people aware of new protocols and alternative ways to get their Black Friday fix will be key to the success of this year’s sales, which in turn will have a major impact on the fortunes of retailers at the end of a very difficult year. To maximise sales, they’ll be looking to harness the power of signage.

Some of the most critical information will need to reach customers before they enter a store, and sometimes even before they arrive in the parking lot, which is where outdoor displays like street pole kits, flag poles and outdoor billboards come into their own.

Upon arrival consumers need to be in no doubt about the protocols for shopping – the rules around mask wearing, hand sanitizing, how many people are allowed in store at one time and how to move around once inside. A-frames and weighted sidewalk signs are the perfect vehicle for these messages because they’re big, bold and robust enough to take a beating from the weather, or from heavy traffic. Of course, they’re also ideal for teasing shoppers with the best deals awaiting them when they finally get to the front of the line!

Inside stores, even tentative Black Friday shoppers could get carried away by the scent of a bargain, and the onus will be on retailers to make sure that their sale events are as safe and socially distanced as they can be.

Previously, stores would have aimed to keep entrance ways completely clear to allow a flood of people to enter – but this year, we’re predicting a much more controlled scenario dominated by hand sanitiser stations and safety signage to make sure people get the message: safety first, bargains second! Our Marshall heavy-duty hand sanitizer station is an ideal tool to help retailers do exactly this, featuring a convenient hand sanitizer mount topped with a snap frame for displaying a poster or safety sign.

In busy environments like this, stability is an important safety consideration. Stores need displays that deliver high-impact information in a format that can cope with heavy, multi-directional foot traffic. Examples include our Barcelona retractable banner, which has a weighted base for indoor and outdoor use, our triple-sided Oslo tension banner, or the Bradford display, which has a sturdy metal construction with sleek, minimalist good looks, and accepts rigid media for a really robust, doubled sided solution.

Making the most of spaces where foot traffic isn’t an issue is another smart move. Frontline’s Montreal poster clamp is ideal for suspending large-scale posters from the ceiling or in store window displays, making it an ideal way to promote exclusive online deals, promotions and low-risk shopping options such as store pickup, both in the lead-up to Black Friday and during the event itself.

In previous years retailers have hit the headlines for failing to control the Black Friday crowds but this year their job is even harder – keeping an invisible enemy at bay. Choosing the right display products can help them to ensure that their sale events are successful AND safe.

For further information on Frontline’s range of indoor and outdoor displays, or to discuss your individual requirements, email