PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As we head into the holiday season, shopping certainly looks different this year.
From finances to your health and safety, to make sure you get what you need, a retail expert has shopping strategy tips.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has trickled down financially to local stores and their shelves. People are also strapped for cash this year.
Retail expert Trae Bodge has tips for helping shoppers this season.
"I am concerned about supply chain issues and shipping delays," said Bodge. "Getting shopping done early is a great strategy because then you're not going to be worrying that gifts aren't going to arrive on time."
Bodge says people typically wait for Black Friday to grab the best deals, but Amazon kicked off the bargains in October. Other retailers joined in, and those sales are likely to last to Christmas.
"We're seeing a lot of really strong deals right now, which is fantastic to see," Bodge said.
If you want to support local businesses but avoid crowds, Bodge says she's seeing a lot of contactless options at retailers big and small.
"Give your favorite boutique a call and find out what they're doing," she added. "Maybe they're timing visits. Maybe they're offering special gift wrap and curbside pickup."
She also suggests tapping into local artisans. Philadelphia has a wealth of handmade, homegrown shops that truly need local support right now.
"Or cozy things like slippers and blankets, teas, just things to make people happy and bring them a little bit of joy," Bodge added.