Get ready to see a lot more contactless payment and Drive Up spots.

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Target
Target exterior
| Credit: Diane Macdonald / Getty

Ready or not, we're almost at the end of October, which in recent times has signaled the (arguably too early) start of the holiday shopping season. Though there's a good chance many will be shifting more of their buying activity online, some say there's no real substitute for the convenience (or maybe just the annual ritual) of buying gifts from brick and mortar stores on or around Black Friday. 

In the hopes of reassuring the public, major retailers like Target are revealing how they'll keep shoppers safe as the ongoing pandemic collides with the busy time of year for buying. In a recent blog post, the big bullseye outlined how it's adding new safety features and shopping services in time for the holiday season, layering them on top of the safety measures they've already introduced earlier this year. 

For those who still want to set foot in a Target, they're introducing multiple new steps to make getting in, getting what you need, and getting out a more seamless experience. That includes contactless payments at self checkout stations using the wallet of the Target app. They'll also empower shoppers to skip the checkout line by giving 1,000 Target employees MyCheckout devices that let you complete your transaction from anywhere in the store. If you're wary of crowds, Target.com/line will let you scope out the situation at your local target, and reserve a spot in line if crowds extend outside the front door. Around Black Friday, that could be an invaluable time-saving method. 

For those who'd rather avoid setting foot in Target entirely, it should be easier to get what you need. They're adding almost 8,000 parking spots for Drive Up orders at stores across the country, doubling their total. Those Drive Up orders also won't require barcode scans anymore, as you'll only have to show your personal ID number in the app through your car's window to complete the transaction. Finally, the option to switch from a Drive Up order to a more traditional in-store order pickup will also be available in the app should you change your mind. 

In terms of taking care of their employees, Target also recently announced that 350,000 frontline team members will receive $200 bonuses in early November. They also increased the starting minimum wage to $15 earlier this year. 

With the possibility for another wave of Covid-19 cases to reintroduce that early spring fear of shopping we all once had, these steps are certainly a move in the right direction. Hopefully this will help Target customers avoid the usual fights that can happen around Black Friday, because it's hard to punch someone to get the last 4K TV from six feet away.