Walmart customers with bags in hand quickly headed out to their cars at the Arroyo Crossing Parkway location Monday morning, while others, like Raquel Lobato, found a simpler way to pick up their goods ahead of the busiest shopping weekend of the year — curbside pickup.
Retailers like Walmart and Target have been expanding their curbside pickup services in recent months just in time for the holiday season. Some shoppers expect to use these services to avoid in-store Black Friday crowds.
The service works roughly the same as in-store pickup, except customers can wait in their car while an employee comes out to load goodies into their vehicle.
Lobato and her one-year-old daughter were at Walmart picking up a few items, including diapers. Lobato said she’ll probably use the service to pick up holiday deals.
“You save time,” she said. “You don’t have to go inside the store.”
Lizabeth Dunn, founder and chief executive of retail data and forecasting firm Pro4ma Inc., said the holiday season will be a test for retailers implementing curbside pickup services.
“It has an opportunity of being a lot more efficient way to manage holiday shopping, but I suspect some retailers will run into … problems where they’re not really able to deliver because of the volume.”
Jeremiah Wood, a manager at Walmart’s Arroyo Crossing Parkway store, said it plans to keep things running smoothly by only allowing doorbuster items to be available for curbside pickup.
“The reason is because of the store being so busy on that Black Friday,” Wood said. “We will still be picking up online orders. They will just be the Black Friday sales.”
Target declined to comment on its Black Friday strategy for curbside pickup, but the service will be available for all items, including doorbusters. Shoppers like Jessica Golonka is confident the process will likely be a smooth one.
“I probably would consider it, especially if there were deals that I wanted to avoid the rush in store — absolutely,” she said. “It’s super easy.”
Nick Egelanian, founder and president of retail real estate consulting firm SiteWorks, said holidays are particularly well situated for internet sales.
“In many cases, (shoppers) are starved for time. It’s a gift for somebody. The kind of convenience the internet offers is really well adapted for that,” he said.
But some shoppers still won’t risk getting caught in the Black Friday frenzy.
Target Drive Up shopper Marie Tactacan said she certainly won’t be using the curbside service this weekend.
“It’s too crazy for me to go out,” she said. “I actually got Black Friday deals and had it sent to my house. I’m not trying to go to any store on Black Friday.”
Target and Walmart will not have curbside pickup available Thanksgiving Day, but it is set to resume Black Friday.
This article has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of Jeremiah Wood.