Your Black Friday Savings Cheat Sheet
By now, you’ve been brutally barraged by Black Friday creep – the onslaught of promotions retailers have been hawking in their brick-and-mortar stores, online and increasingly, via your smart phone – for weeks, and way before the official kick off to the holiday selling season tomorrow.
1. Let Black Friday Sites, Apps Plot Your Strategy
Zero in on the holiday bargains you’re hunting down in one simple step by tapping Black Friday sites and mobile apps.
These apps aggregate all the Black Friday deals for you by category, retailer and by ‘newest.’”
And you can also leverage retail apps to help guide you through the stores this holiday weekend.
This year, “smart retailers are providing more sophisticated and interactive mobile apps that can add a lot of value to the in-store shopping experience,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee, which helps retailers analyze the customer experience.
“Some apps, for example, Lowe’s, let you scan bar-codes in their store to pull up product videos and ratings,” he said.
While others, such as Wal-Mart’s, recognize when you’ve stepped into their store, “showing you aisle locations and providing a tailored, local experience.”
2. Shop In Your Pajamas
On Black Friday, consider foregoing the mall and instead, shop from your couch.
“Last year, our research found that 70% of Black Friday doorbusters were available, at least briefly, at the store’s web sites,” Dan de Grandpre, CEO ofDealNews.com, which alerts shoppers on big deals across the retail landscape, tells Forbes. “So, consider ditching your trip to the store to shop online instead. Definitely bring your smart phone or tablet with you to the store.”
3. Rock The Consumer Electronics Buys
‘Tis indeed the weekend for the best buys on consumer electronics.
“On Black Friday, concentrate on electronics, as many of the deals on Black Friday will be at the best prices of the year,” de Grandpre said.
You need only compare prices at the nation’s low-price rivals, Amazon.comand Wal-Mart, to nab the best possible buys.
“Before making a purchase on Black Friday, check to see whether Amazon or Wal-Mart has the same price,” de Grandpre said.
4. Apply the 40% off rule on Clothing And Accessories
Bargain-hunting experts say Black Friday weekend is actually not the best time of year to score the best deals on clothing. (The steepest markdowns tend to be available in August, September and January.)
But chances are fashion and accessories are on your gift-giving list.
So if you’re hunting online for tangerine legging corduroys for sis or that LeSportsac bag for Mom, don’t settle for anything less than 40% off the full retail price. “Make 40%-off our barometer for a great deal on clothing, shoes and accessories,” Charlie Graham, CEO of ShopItToMe.com, which bills itself as your personal online shopper and bargain hunter, tells Forbes.
“Except to see 30% to 50% off and free shipping,” as well as “whole stores on sale,” he said.
5. Mine Only-On-Black Friday Savings
For some clothing and accessories brands, Black Friday is truly the only time of year they trot out the heavy hitting online discounts — so strike when the iron is hot.
“So for brands that are rarely on sale, adjust your [savings] barometer to 30% or 35% off,” Graham said.
“We looked at brands where average discounts were less than 30% during all of 2011. If you see any of these on sale for more than 30%, I’d urge you to scoop them up, as they are rarely discounted.”
6. Get An Early Start
When it comes to shopping on Black Friday, the early bird does truly get the worm. “Shop early in the day for the best inventory and selection,” Graham said.
7. Skip the Black Friday Hunt Altogether: Shop Off-Price Stores
“Not into the Black Friday craziness? Use the day instead to make your lists and plan your budget, then hit Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, which sell a huge variety of name-brand and designer gifts at 20% to 60% off all the time – not just for a few hours on Black Friday,” said Christine Frietchen, a shopping expert from the off-price chains.
“Each [retailer] has been watching competitors’ prices in real-time and making extremely rapid, unannounced price matches on their sites. It’s happening so fast, even those showrooming mobile apps are having trouble keeping up to date. So I suggest doing a search directly at Amazon or Walmart.com,” he said. “This is especially true for video games, Blu-ray movies, and electronics and gadgets.”