The Year 2020 saw consumers spend roughly 1.6 billion more dollars on Black Friday than they did in the year 2019, according to ABC News. Black Friday of 2020 did, as many people will never forget, fall during record highs of COVID-19 cases in the pandemic. It wasn’t exactly a time when shoppers were hitting the streets to visit brick and mortar locations. Furthermore, the economy was suffering and many Americans were being more particular about how they spent their dollars. So for 2020 Black Friday to be such a success was a surprise for several reasons, and leaves many wondering just how big the holiday will be this year. With much of the country vaccinated, in-person shopping is back in season. In fact, a retail report by YouGov shows that Americans prefer to shop in-person for big retail brands than online.
All signs point to the fact that this Black Friday will be another feeding frenzy. But that doesn’t mean that you have to feel frantic. If you know how to hack the holiday, you can feel confident that you got the best deals and that nothing slipped through your fingers. Here are tips for making the most of Black Friday.
Focus On Big Ticket Items
The way you see the most savings on Black Friday is by focusing on big ticket items. Don’t let the deals on small things like lamps and jeans distract you. Those items don’t cost much to begin with so the savings aren’t big either. This is the time to look into TVs, gaming systems, furniture, large appliances like vacuums or lawn mowers, electronic instruments, barbecues, high-end goods like fine china and crystal champagne glasses, large sports equipment like kayaks and snowboards etc. You get the idea. You don’t have time to save on everything so don’t waste time saving $20 on jeans when you could save $200 on a TV.
Do Some Pre-(Almost)-Shopping
In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, hop online and go to your favorite retailer’s websites. Pick out the items you want, put them in your shopping cart and then abandon them. Do not purchase them. In most cases, if the retailer has your email, they will start sending you coupons for the very items you left in your cart. At this time of year they might even email you notifying you what that item will sell for on Black Friday, and perhaps include a coupon with that. It’s not Black Friday yet, so you have time to abandon some items in online shopping carts and just see what the retailers do to get you to come back.
Show Up The Week Before
If you like to shop in person, visit the brick and mortar stores you want to shop Black Friday a week to two weeks before Black Friday. You don’t need to buy anything. But, to get a sales associate’s attention, consider testing out/trying on a lot of items, and asking lots of questions. Then say you’ll think about it. This is the IRL version of abandoning something in your online shopping cart. In many stores, sales associates are trained at this time of year to tell customers, weeks before Black Friday, about the Black Friday deals. They might even give you coupons to use or a front-of-the-line pass if the store gets busy.
Store Your Credit Card Info
Only do this for retailers you trust. It can be the difference between getting that last hot ticket item and…not. If you’ll be shopping for items that sell out quickly on Black Friday, you might not have time to punch in your credit card information when you’re ready to check out. The time it takes you to do that could be the time in which somebody else snags the item. So if you do have a few big name retailers like Walmart or Target that you trust and know you’ll be shopping, be sure your credit card information is stored in advance to speed up checkout. If you have any gift cards you’d like to use, make sure those have been stored in advance, too.
Subscribe To Newsletters
Subscribe to the newsletters of the stores you’d like to shop on Black Friday. You can always unsubscribe later if they’re spamming you. In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, the newsletter might contain information on special Black Friday items. It might even offer exclusive deals only to those subscribed to the newsletter, as well as options like reserving something. Typically, retail newsletters are annoying but around Black Friday they could be your ticket to insider information about the deals.
If you’ll be doing most of your shopping online (and even if you aren’t), you can use certain apps and online tools to compare prices in real time. RedLaser is an app that compares prices at big name retailers like Target and Toys R Us. ScanLife compares prices between Amazon, Macy’s, BestBuy and other big names. Camelcamelcamel tracks Amazon prices over time and alerts you of changes. And you can always use the Google Search tool to quickly see what every big retailer is offering a certain item for. Remember if you are shopping in-person, you might be able to show them another store offering the item for less and they might just honor that price.
Divide And Conquer
Enlist the help of your friends. Give your Black Friday shopper friends a list of the items you’re looking for and have them share their lists with you. Keep an eye out for each other. The more eyes you have out there looking for that suede loveseat or Roomba, the more likely somebody finds it for you. You might not have the time or luck to scan every site and visit every shop, but if you have an army of shoppers looking for you, the chances that you find your item increase.
Check Credit Card Rewards
If you have multiple credit cards, look into the rewards programs. Some credit cards offer extra points or cashback deals when you shop Black Friday. Some get you exclusive perks like front-of-the-line passes to brick and mortar stores. Some cards offer extra cashback at given retailers all year long, so if you do plan on shopping those stores, be sure to use the card that will reward you for doing so. Just don’t get too carried away and buy items you didn’t really want, all because your credit card offers an excellent cash back deal on them.