Whether you’re shopping for appliances, like a dishwasher or oven, a state-of-the-art food processor or pressure cooker to help you start eating healthier, or you’re hoping to snag a new couch or television to give your living room a new look, Black Friday is the day to do it! Here are some tips for creating the ultimate Black Friday shopping game plan to help you get the things you really want!
1. Shop online early
Black Friday shopping is not for the faint of heart, which is why many people forgo shopping in the traditional sense by shopping online instead.
- This is a great strategy if you don’t want to fight the crowds, and especially if you’re looking for electronics, like a new computer, television or digital camera.
- Make sure you shop early. Leisurely logging onto your computer at 8 a.m. on Black Friday will likely be too late if you’re trying to snag a great deal on one of the year’s hottest toys or electronic items.
- Shopping just after midnight is really your best chance for beating other Black Friday online shoppers to the punch.
- If you have specific fitness goals in mind, shopping online can be a great place to get hot deals on home-gym equipment, including rowing machines and the ever-popular elliptical training machines.
- If you know your size and being outdoors is more your speed, online deals abound on everything from ski pants to skates, and snowshoes to cutting-edge snowboard bindings. So be persistent, keep looking and you never know what goodies you’ll discover!
2. Prioritize and research
If you enjoy the heart-pounding excitement of Black Friday shopping, you need to prioritize the sale items you’re hoping to catch.
- The stores that carry the one or two items at the top of your priorities list, such as new headphones or home speakers, will be the first stops on your Black Friday shopping adventure.
- Many retailers display their Black Friday flyers online before the printed flyers arrive in your newspaper.
- A few days before Black Friday, seek out these online flyers so you can begin prioritizing your shopping list.
- If the online flyer doesn’t display store hours, call ahead and find out exactly what time the store opens on Black Friday.
3. Get social
When looking for great Black Friday deals, don’t forget to check out your favourite brands and retailers on social media.
- You may find out about special discounts or promotions offered only to fans or followers.
- And while you’re there, make sure to like, tweet or share your finds with your friends.
4. Learn the policies ahead of time
Spend some time to familiarize yourself with your favourite stores’ return and price-matching policies to avoid nasty surprises from a Black Friday purchase.
- Major retailers often offer price matching on online and in-store deals, but always check first to avoid disappointment. Some stores might exclude Black Friday deals from their year-round policy, so check the fine print.
- Check the store’s return policy to understand if you’ll have to pay a restocking fee, or other penalty, for returning items purchased on Black Friday promotions.
5. “Drive-by” shopping
If you hope to snatch an advertised deal on a popular item, like kids toys, be prepared for throngs of other shoppers to have the same goal in mind.
- In this case, begin driving by the store several hours before it opens so you can gauge how many other shoppers might be trying to get the same item.
- For instance, if the store opens at 4 a.m. on Black Friday, do your first drive-by no later than 10 p.m. the night before.
- If there’s a line wrapped around the building, you need to decide whether it’s worth it to stand outside all night, waiting for the store to open.
- If only a few people are lined up, do another drive-by an hour or two later. If there are more anxious shoppers lined up outside, it might be time to park and join them.
6. Skip the accessories
Managed to get a great deal on your dream TV? Don’t be tempted by add-ons’ like cables and extended warranties.
- Retailers have high margins on items like TV cables, wall mounts and stands. These ‘must-haves’ are usually best purchased from online specialty retailers who can dramatically discount the big-box store price.
- Extended warranties are another big money-maker for retailers, because consumers so rarely make claims on them. If you’re satisfied that the odds are in your favour (and there are many published studies that attest to this) take a calculated risk and skip the extra warranty.
With a proper game plan, you can take advantage of great Black Friday sales. If you’re like many other shoppers, the thrill of the hunt is almost as much fun as getting a great deal!