Black Friday has quickly progressed from being a uniquely American phenomenon to becoming a day of joy and celebration for shopaholics around the world, not least because of the worldwide nature of the world’s largest online stores. Now, we all know that there are some great bargains to be had as the retail world comes together to clear stock and attract customers, but the savvy shopper will appreciate that there is more to bagging the best deals than turning up on the day with your credit card in hand. The savviest shoppers of all know to come prepared, and they do so through a combination of intuition and information to guarantee that every deal is a good one.
1. Don’t Wait Until Friday
Black Friday’s main event, just as the name would indicate, is on a Friday. However, for those seeking the biggest and best bargains, Black Friday can be a week-long event, or even longer. The price reductions are not provided to customers out of the kindness of the retailer’s heart, and they benefit from full order books, the shifting of stock that might have been lying around for a while or simply a new name on their mailing list. They want you to get your deals from them and will make sure you know what to expect. Keep an eye out for the best deals in the lead up to Black Friday, as others are and once they’re gone, they’re gone.
2. Consider Apps from your Favourite Brands
If you feel that there is a chance of buying from a certain retailer on Black Friday, and you don’t already have it, consider downloading their app and turning on notifications. Some retailers drip feed their deals throughout the day, while others have been known to slash prices even further. Ultimately, they are doing so to sell the products in question, and so they are never shy about publicising such breaking news. With notifications on, a couple of taps will get shoppers right to where they need to be to take advantage.
3. Maintain a Strategy
While some shopaholics would disagree, we are of the opinion that a big saving is only a good deal if it is on an item that you truly need or want. To us, half off a pair of shoes you will never wear is still a net loss, no matter how good the deal appears. Have an idea of what you want to buy and get a feel for what is good or bad about certain brands and models. This particularly applies to large goods such as kitchen electrical items, as a bad product is not made any better just because it gets cheaper.
4. Be Open to the Ads
Once again, retailers with Black Friday deals lined up want people to know about them, and they will generally publicise them in advance. You will still need to get in early but knowing what is coming works well with the research outlined above. By paying attention to these ads, you can be aware of where to be and when, both online and in-store, to get the deals that are truly worthwhile.
5. Compare Prices
When one retailer says that an item is half off, that is usually half off the price they were selling it for previously – and takes no account of somewhere else selling it cheaper in the first place. Time can be of the essence for the best Black Friday deals, but it is important to have all the facts before committing to any deal. Price matches are often still in effect on Black Friday too, and if a store promises to beat the price of a competitor, it is worth seeing if that applies to the seasonal pricing.
6. Observe Price Histories Wherever Possible
Depending on where you are located, the rules around sale percentages and previously advertised prices can vary. With online retailers, it is possible to get an idea of what the price of a certain item was at any given time. Having this information can be just as important as direct price comparison, as it can weed out deals that are simply nowhere near being as good as they look.
7. Make the Most of Loyalty Rewards
While many retailers see Black Friday as being a great way to attract new business, they are always willing to look after their loyal customers too. This may involve early access to deals, further discounts and more, and is always worth taking advantage of. For existing memberships, simply make the most of any additional benefits. If there is a store you have an eye on for a deal, it may be worth creating an account before Black Friday in the hope of qualifying for any additional loyalty perks.
8. Know your Terms and Conditions
As with price histories, the rules around returns and other conditions of sale depending on location. However, retailers are required to publish their terms and shoppers should always be aware of the most important ones, such as those surrounding returns, exchanges and faulty items.
9. Don’t Forget your Other Deals
Black Friday is a fantastic opportunity to double-dip and the bigger the bargain, the better. Use a credit card that offers cashback for an even steeper discount when shopping online or in store and take advantage of the various protections afforded by credit card companies on all products. Coupons, vouchers and other discounts often state that they cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, but are worthy of consideration in some cases, and there is nothing to prevent shoppers loading up on loyalty points along with their purchases at their retailer of choice.
10. Keep the Receipt
When shopping online with a reputable retailer, you will receive a receipt and, in some cases, also an invoice. On land, it is on you to keep track. Depending on your approach, you may need to make returns or exchanges, and this is increasingly difficult without a receipt, so be prepared to take care of a stack of paper for a few weeks afterwards in case any issues arise.