5 Tips for Holiday Shopping During the COVID-19 Pandemic

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Although holiday shopping will look different this year, the celebrations will go on! Check out these tips for safe shopping this holiday season.

Expect Crowds

Although crowds will likely be thinner than usual on the main holiday shopping days of the year, there will still be crowds. Many stores will continue to operate in limited capacity, which will increase the safety of in-store shopping but could also result in longer lines to get into the building, leaving you standing in the cold. Account for crowds by planning to visit at lower-traffic times and bringing along cold-weather gear for any wait times.

Expect Shortages

Retailers, especially struggling ones, don’t want to have a lot of out of stock situations, but they also don’t want to have a bunch of left over inventory that they have to mark down and lose profit on. Many retailers will find themselves trying to balance a fine line to fulfill everything their customers want without having too much supply. Due to these unprecedented times, expect inventory shortages and for things to fly off the shelf this holiday season. If you shop early, chances are better that you will find everything on your list.

Expect Shipping Delays

Shipping companies are expecting a large increase in demand this year when the uptick in online shopping due to health concerns combines with the yearly holiday shopping boom. FedEx, UPS, and USPS have already announced shipping surcharges to help them cope with the increased demand, which could make shipping more expensive for you, depending on the retailer. Even with surcharges and additional seasonal employees, you may still see delays in shipping.

Shop Early

In order to combat all the issues above, shop early.  And when we say early, we really mean now… even better if you’ve already started! Due to the coronavirus, many supply chains are still not up to their normal production levels, which is another factor that could leave you unable to find gifts at the last minute. Also, the inability to have spring/summer sales, such as Amazon’s Prime Day, has caused the season for holiday sales to come earlier this year. Shop early to get the best deals, find what you want, and get it on time.

Watch for Scams

Where there is money, there are scams. Be sure that you vet every website you are purchasing from. Double check the URL to make sure you’re on the site you think you are, look for an address and phone number on the site to contact if there’s an issue, make sure the site looks reputable (no typos, professional design, etc.), and most importantly – check social media and other review websites for reviews.

Bonus Tip:

If you’re planning to shop in-store this year, using the contactless payment option on your Patriot VISA credit card is a great way to stay safe. Simply look for the contactless logo (four curved lines) at checkout and tap your card or hold it just above the card reader to pay. Visit our website to learn more about our contactless payment option.

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