Black Friday Online Shopping Tips
If you want to save money and avoid the crowds, these tips will help you be successful shopping ONLINE for Black Friday. You can also find tips for saving money for Black Friday here.
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1. Plan to your shopping about a week before Black Friday
Last year’s competition for sales caused several retailers to release early blockbuster sales weeks ahead of schedule. Make sure you have signed up for e-mail notifications or signed up with a retailer’s mobile app so that you will receive alerts to special deals.
2. Use different browser tabs for each Store
Even though your goal is to avoid the crowds, you will need to be prepared for the slew of people attempting to purchase items online. You may be avoiding hundreds of shoppers locally. However, you will literally be competing with millions of online shoppers. Be prepared by having your computer on and each store pulled up in a different browser tab. This way you simply complete a purchase and move on to your next tab rather than searching for store after store or even finding the bookmark that you thought you saved.
3. Put Blockbuster deals in your cart ahead of time
If you have studied your Black Friday ads, you will likely know exactly which item you want ahead of time. Simply put the item in your cart before sales start for a faster checkout. Once the sale is live, most retailers will automatically update the price once you return to your cart or refresh your screen. Remember though, this is not always an option as retailers may hold specific items to only be released once the sale starts.
4. Update your information for the retailer ahead of time
You certainly don’t want to waste time on the basics when you are competing for key sale items. Take some time about a week before Thanksgiving to make sure your key retail stores have your updated information such as mailing address. Be sure to also check your credit card or payment information especially if you do not use a particular retailer often or have been issued a new credit card recently.
5. Remember to use Ebates
You can learn more about how Ebates works here. Last year though, Ebates doubled the customer cash back amounts at over 500 stores.
6. Remember to check Return Policies
This is another great thing to do prior to the actual sale event especially if you are purchasing clothing and may be unsure of the sizing. Since you cannot try on clothes or shoes when you buy online, make sure you are clear whether the retailer will charge return shipping or a restocking fee.
7. Thanksgiving Thursday is Key to Online sales
Several retailers will begin online sales earlier than in-store sales. Again, if you are receiving e-mail notices from the retailer, you will likely be able to confirm the date and time their blockbuster sales will go live online. Last year, Walmart’s online deals started at midnight whereas the in-store sales didn’t start until 6 pm.
Here’s a short list of last year’s online sales:
Kohl’s – 12:00 am CST Monday
Macy’s – 12:00 am PST Wednesday
Toys R Us- 9:00 pm EST Wednesday
Best Buy – 12:01 am EST Thanksgiving
JCPenney – 12:00 am CST Thanksgiving
Target – 12:00 am CST Thanksgiving
Kmart – 12:00 am CST Thanksgiving
Walmart – 12:00 am PST Thanksgiving
Staples – 12:00 am Thanksgiving
Sears – 12:00 am CST Thanksgiving
8. Be online as soon as sales start
This should be a no-brainer. Again, you are competing on a national level for these special blockbuster sales. Be prepared and on time so that you can score your favorite deals. Since several of these deals start during the wee hours, set your alarm and be prepared to order in your jammies. If you need to, start that coffee maker to get you inspired.
9. Purchase Blockbuster Items First
Since you don’t want to miss a killer deal and went through the trouble of adding all these sites to extra browser tabs, don’t wait. Check out promptly especially if the retailer is offering free shipping. Making separate purchase will increase your chances of scoring the priority items while leaving the slipper socks (that you just can’t decide on the color) can wait until later.
10. Look for Free ship-to-store options
Since not all retailers will offer free shipping, remember to look for free shipping to the local store. This is available year-round for many retailers including Toys R Us, Walmart, Nordstrom, Kohl’s and JCPenney.
Bonus Tip-Cyber Monday and Free Shipping Day
Cyber Monday is the Monday following Black Friday and typically you will find flash deals for retailers hoping to score more sales. Apparel has been a huge Cyber Monday item in recent years. While Thanksgiving and Black Friday tend to have better markdowns on small kitchen appliances, cameras, tools, and TVs, you may still score some killer deals on electronics.
This may be news to you! Several online retailers will offer deep discounts in hopes to get last-minute shoppers on December 15th -Free Shipping Day. This date is usually perfect timing for shipments to arrive prior to the Holidays. Plus, retailers have had the chance to start calculating their earnings for the holiday season and may want to boost their sales on key products.
If recent retailer trends hold, these tips will save you both time and money as well as help you keep your sanity during the Holiday rush. Please also review Top 10 ways to save money on Black Friday for additional tips!