This week officially kicks off the first big holiday sale since COVID-19 emptied stores across the country. And internet shoppers won't be disappointed. Retailers are rolling out big online discounts on big-ticket items that Memorial Day sales are known for, including mattresses, outdoor furniture and home appliances.
Watch for online deals on a wide variety of “products to improve the home experience,” such as firepits, storage units, and kitchen and bathroom fixtures, says Michael Bonebright, consumer analyst for the deal-tracking website DealNews. Some of those discounts are bigger than usual for this time of year.
In addition to markdowns, many retailers are tempting shoppers with free home delivery and contactless curbside pickup, a new twist on the buy-online-pick-up-in-store option. Best Buy, Dick's, Macy's, Home Depot, Walmart and other stores will deliver right to your car; drive up to the store, pop open your trunk, and you're good to go.
On the downside, many websites are alerting customers about shipping delays due to coronavirus-related issues. Some have suspended in-home delivery and installation. Other potential shopping snafus: out-of-stock alerts, quantity limits and long wait times on customer-service phone lines.
Before you click “buy” be sure to check the fine print, including shipping times and return policies, which might be temporarily modified or include special instructions or fees for large, bulky items. Another way to avoid buyer's remorse (or resentment) is to carefully scan user reviews for a product's pros and cons — don't rely on overall ratings — and, when possible, double-check them on free rating-analysis services like Fakespot and ReviewMeta.
If you decide to shop in stores, first go online for hours and other information. Even with states opening back up, some retail chains remain closed, have shortened hours or offer special hours for older adults. You may be asked to wear a mask and wait in line at the entrance, or make an appointment to consult with a sales associate due to crowd-control measures.
Here are four product categories with big Memorial Day markdowns: