Tom Turkey is the main character today, but after the dishes are done and the football games are over, many of you are gearing up for the biggest shopping day of the year: Black Friday! Woohoo! …Right? I know, I know, a lot of you really do enjoy running frantically from store to store at the crack of dawn. But for the rest of you, we’ve written up a few Black Friday shopping tips to help you breeze through your Christmas list and leave you with more time to relax with a cup of cocoa. Score!
Check the Online Ads
Before you wait in line all morning (or Thanksgiving night) only to realize your prize is sold out, see if the item is available online. Many stores offer limited in-store quantities, but offer the same deals on their web sites (including free shipping!). No starting the car, no lines, no putting on pants…um, can we say “win-win?” What if the store doesn’t sell your favorite item online and they were sold out in-store? Resist the urge to throw your pumpkin spice latte at the manager. You may be able to find that exact or comparable item on another major retail site (Amazon, Newegg, Tigerdirect, or ebay are usually promising). Again, most of these sites offer free shipping and you could even find a better price than you would get in a brick-and-mortar store. That’s more money for presents, saving, or charitable causes (come on, ’tis the season for giving).
Know Your Target
“Okay, Clarity…the price is great but I don’t know anything about the brand or all these numbers. 1080p? 50 hz? 1.21 gigawatts? And since when does Home Depot sell Gateways?” Good question. Exactly why do retailers sell TVs, tablets, laptops and other top electronics only one day a year? To get you in the door, of course. But most of the time, they haven’t chosen the best items, just a really attractive price. Other things to be aware of before you make that purchase:
- Look at the specs (the crazy numbers and letters that let you know a computer’s speed and memory or a TV’s refresh rate). Many times, the price is so low because the specs are way outdated (like, “4 years” outdated). Many of the “doorbuster sales” this year are on TVs that have a low refresh rate, say 60 hz. If you spend just $50 more, you can get a “non-doorbuster” with a 120 hz refresh rate–meaning your TV-watching experience will be twice as awesome. Well worth the extra money if you’re really looking forward to “The Avengers” on Blu-ray.
- Never heard of the brand but the price is irresistible? Don’t fall into the traps! We all know those big brand names: HP, LG, Sony, Samsung. Yeah, they command a higher price tag but think about what you’re paying for. These products are backed by great customer support; dependable warranties; and easily replaceable, quality parts.
- If you don’t need the latest and greatest features (your teenage daughter does NOT need a Macbook if all she does is play Farmville), you can get last year’s model at a blowout price. Go ahead, check out the price of an iPhone 4S now that the iPhone 5 has been released. Much better than last year’s price, right? Even better, most of these items go on sale weeks or even months before Black Friday. A 1-year-old laptop is still cutting edge and will fulfill your needs without busting your budget.
Plan Out Your Day
Get your biggest deals first. Let’s say you’re looking to get some DVDs, a new sweater, and a tablet. Pick up the tablet (a hot sale item) first. The DVDs and clothing will likely be in stock all day and at several retailers (for a similar price). One quick caveat: read your ads carefully before you leave. Many awesome deals are only available during certain times (say, midnight to 4am), which will effect your shopping schedule.
Can’t wait until Friday? Are you raring to go right after the pumpkin pie is finished? A few years ago, Black Friday sales started creeping closer and closer to midnight, but they finally made the leap this year to Thanksgiving Day. Many retailers have at least one deal you can snag late Thursday evening that’s different from the ones available on Friday morning. If you really really want that deal, be prepared to shop right after you scarf down dessert so you can get those Black Friday steals…err, Black Thursday? Black Friday Eve?
What Are You Really Getting?
Don’t forget to do your research and check out the reviews before you buy. In fact, read them before your even plan your trip. You might change your mind after reading what other people have to say. With the success of the iPad, copycats are exploding onto the market, tempting you with the same type of item at a much cheaper price. However, these items (especially the off-brand ones) can have a terrible touch screen interface, outdated software, bad speakers, or a small selection of apps. (We took these examples from some actual reviews of tablets on sale this year.) Whatever you’re buying, try to locate a model with mostly positive reviews.
So set your alarm, program the coffeemaker (if you don’t have one, you can buy a programmable one tomorrow!) and get your ads ready. You’re prepared to do battle with the best! Just don’t forget the true reason for the season. These tips are supposed to help save you money and make your shopping day (and your Christmas) quicker and easier. Don’t turn into that guy who elbows people in the esophagus just to get a Tickle-Me Elmo. Greed is nothing to be thankful for.
Clarity Creative Group is a web design & internet marketing company located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. We think there is nothing better than football, pumpkin pie, and hot apple cider.