Long Black Friday lines converting to cyber deal rushes

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INDIANAPOLIS — In an effort to avoid the coronavirus this season, some economists predict many retailers will sprint to online deals on Black Friday, but that doesn’t mean lines and rushes are gone.

The flurry of sales still exists–it’s just who clicks the fastest instead of waiting the longest in line.

“Retailers have to be ready for this. Target puts up their new sale at 3 a.m., and I think there are folks staying up late, or getting up early to shop online, that way, that’s the Black Friday,” said Ball State economics professor Steven Horwitz. “In general, the larger stores, the national chains, are in much better position to handle everything from these restrictions to lock down. I hope if you’re a small business you have been thinking about this for six to eight months, and building up your e-capacity.”

Horwitz says in-person line distribution tends to favor those who have no other alternatives, and are willing to sacrifice their time to wait. With online sales, it’s about who is best equipped with the fastest connections and computer. He says both big box retailers and small businesses need to be equipped for the influx of buyers.

“If I was betting, I would bet this is going to be a significant blow to Black Friday, and the whole pattern of Christmas holiday shopping we have seen the past 20 years,” Horwitz said.

Some shoppers may be waiting for any potential stimulus checks to arrive before breaking the bank, but Horwitz says there may be consumers who have been stuck inside so long that they want to use the holiday to go big for their families.

If you are looking to battle for online deals. Horwitz suggests doing your research beforehand as several retailers are announcing deal release times on their websites.

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