Experts: Black Friday and holiday shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published: 24 November 2020

In normal times, the holiday shopping season is when retailers and other businesses can make the money they need to survive leaner months. But with lockdowns being implemented in parts of the country, and rising COVID-19 infections, bringing those customers into the store is difficult if not impossible. (CBC News)

Here are some experts from McGill University that can provide comment on this issue:

Maxime Cohen, Associate Professor, Desautels Faculty of Management

Black Friday and the 2020 holiday shopping season is one for the books. Retailers will need to double their creative efforts to attract both local customers to their physical stores and international customers to their online channel. This year more than ever, data analytics can be leveraged to extend personalized offers that can be a win-win for both retailers and customers.”

Maxime Cohen is an Associate Professor of Retail Management and Operations Management at the Desautels Faculty of Management and the Co-Director of the McGill Retail Innovation Lab. His core expertise lies at the intersection of data science and operations management.

maxime.cohen [at] (English, French)

Yu Ma, Associate Professor, Desautels Faculty of Management

The pandemic transformed Black Friday from the largest and loudest retail celebration to a month-long online marathon. It may overwhelm and exhaust consumers who are looking for some savings.”

Yu Ma is an Associate Professor in the Desautels Faculty of Management and a Bensadoun Faculty Scholar. His research interest includes food marketing, retailing and big data analytics. Using consumer purchase data and advanced econometric and statistical models, he studies how consumers react to various marketing incentives. [at] (English)

Anwar White, Faculty Lecturer, Desautels Faculty of Management

"Holiday shopping has been moving toward e-commerce more and more as the years go by – about 20% in 2019. Those numbers are expected to grow closer to a third. Just as retailers are having to transform and evolve the way they do business; customers are also changing their buying habits. You'll notice more participation with the pickup in store offering, in-store kiosks, and online buying from customers that had never done those things before.”

Anwar White is a Faculty Lecturer at the Desautels Faculty of Management. A veteran in the retail industry, he joined the Bensadoun School of Retail Management as the program director of the new Master of Management in Retailing in 2019.

anwar.white [at] (English)

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