Walmart has released its third – and official – Black Friday ad of 2021, along with details of its most anticipated sale of the year.
The big online sale begins at 7 p.m. ET Monday, Nov. 22 but paying members of its Walmart+ membership program get four hours early access to the deals, including the hard-to-find Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. The video game consoles are listed as online-only offers at the regular price of $499.
The in-store sale, which will include the Xbox Series S console for $299, starts at 5 a.m. local time Friday, Nov. 26.
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Because of the pandemic last year, Walmart revamped its annual Black Friday sale and spread the savings across a month.
Walmart has said its Black Friday sales were “designed for a safe, enjoyable experience” and that all of the deals are online and “to help ensure safe shopping in stores, Walmart follows CDC guidance and local mandates.”
Experts recommend that consumers start shopping for holiday gifts ahead of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, which is often seen as the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season.
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Walmart’s big change to Black Friday 2021
Over the years, other retailers have given loyalty members early access to some deals ahead of the sales going live for all shoppers. But this year, Walmart and Best Buy are offering early access to members of paid programs.
Walmart+ members can start shopping four hours ahead of the scheduled online start time, which is 3 p.m. ET Nov. 22.
The program costs $98 a year, or $12.95 a month, and includes free delivery and shipping with no order minimum. Those on free trials of the membership program do not get early access.
Jared Blank, chief marketing officer at VTEX, a digital commerce platform, said Walmart is offering a growing number of perks to its Walmart+ members to help shift the demand for holiday shopping earlier.
“Retailers are leveraging their loyalty programs to drive specific consumer behaviors, and they’re using that to their advantage,” Blank said in a statement to USA TODAY. “Supply chain challenges aren’t going away anytime soon, so I expect to see merchants continuing to use these loyalty programs to incite demand favorably toward their inventory and shipping capabilities.”
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