Some folks just love a good deal. Others love the rush of the sale. And a few of us love to stand in line to fight with little old ladies and small children for those limited-supply doorbusters on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But no matter which kind of shopper you are, all your efforts are always in the name of a great buy. And if you’re wondering how to make the most of all these superior sales, you’ve come to the right place.
A Game of Numbers
According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated 137.4 million American consumers are predicted to shop either online or in person over Thanksgiving weekend 2016. And that’s not even counting the millions more shopping on Cyber Monday. In fact, as the federation’s President and CEO Matthew Shay says, “Black Friday remains one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with Americans planning to take advantage of aggressive in-store and digital promotions.”
And based on data from Adobe Digital Insights, Americans are projected to spend $8.4 billion dollars in just three days. Predicted sales numbers for those three big shopping days are as follows:
- Thanksgiving Day – $2.0 billion
- Black Friday – $3.05 billion (hitting record sales)
- Cyber Monday – $3.36 billion (largest online shopping day ever)
And that’s often because not only do we see the most deals – but we also see the best deals – during these days. But when it comes to getting them for yourself this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, what you really want to know is just how you can win the game, right? So, let’s dive in.
Get the Biggest Bang for Your Holiday Buck
Create a Game Plan
For those not already in the know, Black Friday is not the day to browse. Nor is it the day to get ideas for the loved ones on your list. It’s the day to just get in and get out. In fact, some experts even suggest that you consider hitting up some larger stores earlier in the week to get the lay of the land. It’ll help you know where certain items are stocked and will keep you from wandering around aimlessly.
“Americans are projected to spend $8.4 billion dollars in just 3 days: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.”
Instead of going in blind, do your research ahead of time using both BlackFriday.com and CyberMonday.com to create your shopping list and budget – and then stick to it. The more specific you can be with the brand and model number you want, the more successful you’ll be the day of. Because not everything that’s in a Black Friday ad is a great deal, so don’t immediately trust it to be great pricing. And be honest with yourself – if you didn’t need this extra item at full price, you likely don’t need it at a discounted price either. (Plus, know each store’s return policy and shipping costs so that you can send it back if you realize you got caught up in the buying frenzy.)
On top of that, if you’ve got a lot of deals and stores on your list, think about pulling together a detailed shopping schedule. It’ll help you know what’s going to be on sale where and at what time. When doing so, keep in mind that most retailers stagger their sales throughout the day – to keep you coming back, of course. Also, beware the mirage doorbusters – items that the store purposefully carries a low number of to get you in the door. And ask in advance if your chosen stores offer “rain checks” to honor those same deals for a longer time period for those shoppers who couldn’t grab the inventory in time.
While holiday shopping can sometimes be madness, it doesn’t have to be (unless you like it better that way). That’s because there are some amazing tools available for free online that’ll help you save more and shop smarter.
Almost all Black Friday deals are available on the web at this point, which makes it much easier to compare prices ahead of time. In fact, there are some fancy tools that’ll even do almost all the work for you. For example, a price comparison tool such as PriceBlink browses over 11,000 trusted merchants across the web to see if an item is listed for less elsewhere. There are also browser extensions out there, like Honey, which detects sweet savings opportunities across thousands of sites and shows you the lowest price of all the sellers.
And if you’re inside the brick-and-mortar stores, some of them will honor price matches. So, be sure you ask before you leave and head across town to try a different store. Managers would much rather lose a few dollars by honoring a competitor’s discount price than lose the sale entirely.
Also, retailers these days are getting evermore social with their media marketing. So, get social in the name of savings. Hop on all your favorite sites – like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – to search for any coupons retailers may have posted. And since you’ll be on the run for most of the day, be sure to keep your smartphone at the ready. You can sign up for email, text, and push alerts from your favorites stores, and even use it for checking in on rapidly-depleting inventories. Just make sure you have a backup battery charged and at the ready.
Get Even More with Coupons and Rewards
Sometimes (but not always), retailers will honor additional coupons, coupon codes, and rewards dollars from earlier sales and allow you to combine them with Black Friday deals to save you even more. Even better, you can grab many of these codes online and for free from websites and smartphone apps such as Retail Me Not and Coupon Sherpa. And while many sites have outdated codes that don’t work anymore, Coupon Sherpa is backed by a human team that actually curates and categorizes all the sales codes.
Think Outside the Big Box
In general, most folks end up doing most of their in-person shopping at The Big 4: Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Toys R Us. And while these often have some phenomenal deals, visiting smaller stores in search of non-traditional items is also a great way to find some solid steals.
Jenny Martin of couponing and budgeting blog Southern Savers had this advice to share about the one kind of stores most folks overlook: drugstores. “CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens all have freebies every single Black Friday — sometimes upwards of 30 items that are completely free,” she says. “They’re easy to grab and they’re things you need, like free toothbrushes and free toothpaste.”
So don’t get yourself stuck on, “We’re just looking for a TV,” because there are savings to be had on almost anything. And you can find those savings nearly anywhere.
Remember That You Are Human
If you’re shopping this hard, you going to need to remember to prepare properly, because shopping on Black Friday can be something of an endurance sport. So be sure to wear comfortable clothes, eat healthy food, stay hydrated, and keep calm. Saving $100 on a new TV is pretty useless if you end up spending triple that on medical bills at the hospital.
And sure, your goal may have been to buy gifts for every single person on your holiday list in one fell swoop. But if it didn’t quite happen this year, there’s no need to worry. Many companies, like Amazon, are expanding the span of their holiday deals to allow more shoppers the opportunity to cash in on the savings.
So this holiday season, make sure you’re well prepared to snag the best deals the retail world has to offer. Let Allconnect help you get the best and most reliable Internet set up ahead of time (to do that vital shopping research, of course) so you can grab those last-minute deals this Black Friday and Cyber Monday before they’re gone for good.