Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, is noted as the biggest day for retailers of the year. Millions of people turn out in stores and online to score deals on electronics, clothes, and more.
But before you camp out at the nearest department store at 2:00 a.m., it’s important to know that Black Friday isn’t always what it seems. Retailers use some tricks to boost sales and entice customers. By knowing some of the most common techniques they use, you can spot the difference between a fake deal and a real bargain.
Trick 1: Doorbusters
What often sends people out in droves is doorbuster deals that retailers advertise. These items are often electronics or hot toys that are dramatically discounted. However, doorbusters aren’t the deal they’re made out to be.
Those doorbusters are designed to just get customers in the store. Often, the store will only have one or two of the advertised doorbuster in stock. That causes people to line up for hours, only to be disappointed once they get in the door.
But if they sell out, don’t get discouraged. You can often find a similar item for the same price and, if the item is in demand, the retailer will stock more after Black Friday to take advantage of sales over the holiday season.
Trick 2: Limited editions
Many companies offer limited editions products and kits during the holidays. Beauty stores, in particular, are known to sell special gift sets on Black Friday.
But before stocking up on those limited edition products, check the prices on the normally sold products. In many cases, the “limited edition” version is the same kit as the one sold in September, with the add-on of a cheap brush or different colored handle.
By skipping the limited edition, you can often get the same product for a fraction of the price.
Trick 3: Lowest prices of the season
Retailers boast that Black Friday sales are their lowest prices of the season. Often, that’s actually true. But, it’s not because they’re feeling generous; the prices are marked down to offload last year’s models to make room for the new ones.
Because they’re trying to clear our last year’s models, that means the price is likely going to stay at Black Friday levels throughout the rest of the year. The prices will remain low until all of last year’s stock is sold.
Before making a purchase because you feel rushed or it’s your last chance, know that you’ll be able to get those items for the same price. You can take the time do your research without losing money.
Getting the Best Deals
Despite retailers’ tricks, you can get good deals on Black Friday. But it’s important to go in with a clear plan of attack so you don’t go over budget:
1. Create a list: It’s easy to lose your head when there’s people scrambling to grab items. You might be tempted to throw great deals into your cart just so you don’t miss out. But doing so is a quick recipe for breaking your budget. Instead, create a list ahead of time of what you want to buy, and stick to it.
2. Shop for staples: While most people focus on electronics and toys, Black Friday can be a great opportunity to stock up on staples for yourself. You can score steep bargains on work clothes, shoes, and even kitchenware. If you were already planning on upgrading your wardrobe or household items, you can save money by timing your purchases for Black Friday.
3. Compare prices: Most retailers offer price match guarantees. So before you start driving from store to store to get the best deal on each item, put your smartphone to use and look up deals. You can usually get the store to match a competitor's price if you can show them the listing. That can save you time—and gas money.
4. Consider shopping online instead: In the past, you needed to head to the store to get the best bargains. But now, online retailers have gotten into the game and offer Black Friday discounts, too. You can use sites like PriceGrabber to comparison shop prices at multiple retailers at once, ensuring you get the best deal.
Although you can get a good deal on Black Friday, it’s not as easy as you might think. Retailers depend on some sales tricks to convince you to spend money right now. But, by knowing some of the most common techniques they can use, you can shop thoughtfully and get what you need while staying within budget.
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