Avoid these landmines on Black Friday

The worst-kept secret in retail is that Black Friday shopping deals start the day after Thanksgiving.

Not really.

Retailers now regularly offer big discounts – they even call them “Black Friday” discounts – long before Thanksgiving weekend.

Consider Walmart, which promoted its first Black Friday sales event from Nov. 7-9, with an HP Chromebook for $79 and a TCL 55″ Class 4K Smart Roku TV for just $188.

“Other big box stores, including Lowes, Target and Kohls, dropped door-to-door deals even earlier, rolling out pre-Black Friday sales as early as November 3.rd and 4esaid personal finance expert Andrea Woroch, founder of the money-saving tips website. AndreaWoroch.com. “With all this deal frenzy, there’s a lot of confusion about what to buy now and what to wait to buy.”

How to keep calm and carry on

During the dizzy and confusing shopping season between early November and the last week of December, holiday shoppers can easily make mistakes and lose some of their hard-earned cash. This is especially the case with Black Friday sales, when shopping tends to be the heaviest.

To avoid those Black Friday landmines, take a step back, take a deep breath, and follow these Black Friday money-saving shopping tips that might otherwise trip you up in the weeks to come.

Beware of patio doors. Beware of door knockers – they could be substandard and lacking in key components and features to keep prices down.

“Not to mention that off-brand electronics may not hold up as well,” Woroch said. “Look for patterns and personally assess the quality of household items and clothing to determine their value.”

Rethink that discount. A Black Friday deal that requires you to mail in a discount may not be worth it.

“This is especially the case if there are other steps you can’t complete, like including a product barcode on a gift,” Woroch noted. “In the end, a smaller instant discount from another store might be better. Look for coupons through deal aggregators like CouponFollow.com to find the largest discount.

Act quickly on good deals and products to avoid Supply Chain slowdowns. It’s a good idea to sign up for major retailer apps and marketplace notifications to get the best deals in real time.

“Be on the lookout for sales and deals and make sure to act quickly on hot deals or products as some industries are still expected to have supply chain issues,” said Inmar Intelligence general manager of incentives Rob Weisberg. “Our recent survey data revealed that 40% of shoppers plan to shop earlier and stock up before prices rise even further.”

Check – and double-check – return policies. With a variety of other factors in play, retailers are evaluating a number of options when it comes to return policies.

“Some companies, like H&M, are considering charging for returns, while others have gone in the opposite direction and simply ask customers to keep the items they want to return instead of sending them back,” Weisberg noted. “It’s a complicated equation, and a savvy buyer should be aware of the return policy for goods purchased, especially with a product purchased during a sale.”

Avoid the “package”. One thing buyers should watch out for is the allure of heavily discounted “bundles” which are expected to be plentiful this year.

“One of the main points of attention for retailers is to increase the average order size around major sales periods like Black Friday, because there are so many discounts,” said EcommerceIntelligence.com founder Ryan Turner. “This tactic helps them make more real profit per sale in terms of net dollar value, even after enticing promotions are applied. For consumers, this can be problematic because they are not actually saving any money.

Here’s how it works, according to Turner.

Instead of discounting a popular product by 30% to 40%, many retailers simply bundle that product with a handful of other items and then apply the discount to the set as a whole.

“It may sound very attractive to buyers, but in reality buyers are spending more than they otherwise would because they naturally wouldn’t have bought the lot – all they really wanted was the single product,” he added. “But to get the ‘savings’ on this item, it’s often necessary to buy the offer together with other products that you don’t really want.”

Be armed and ready

The best overall shopping tip around Black Friday? It really comes down to two pieces of advice: be smart and be prepared.

“Follow your favorite brands and retailers on their social media channels, as they often use these channels to communicate deals,” Weisberg said. “According to our data, 67% of consumers have made a purchase based on content viewed on social media. Additionally, more than 70% of consumers turn to influencers for product inspiration.”

Also, figure out your go-to influencers and those who have struck deals with your favorite brands. “It helps you stay on top of any special coupons or promotions they are offering their followers or posting for Black Friday,” Weisberg added.

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