At one point long ago, back when I had a career outside of the home, and before I became a Mom- I was an apparel buyer for a large department store. In that position, I was responsible for selecting the styles to be sold in the stores, for determining how much of each style to buy, and how to price and promote the merchandise. And I can tell you from my experience, that there is great pressure on buyers to deliver fantastic sales promotions that will drive customers into the store, and get those customers to open their wallets and spend their hard-earned dollars with you, as a retailer.
So why are there such great deals on Black Friday? Sure, it is the “official kick off” to the holiday shopping season, but the real reason that there continue to be such great sale prices on this day year after year, is that the retailers are “up against” these promotional sales figures each year. And the only way to re-create the sales volume that they captured last year is to come up with new deals to bring the customers back again. If you know how to shop these deals, you can turn this promotional cycle to your advantage.
Black Friday Shopping Tips:
1. Start with a shopping list- make a list of everyone that you intend to purchase a gift for this holiday season. Assign a dollar value to each gift, so that you have a budget to work from as you are preparing your “plan of attack”. Separately, I create a list for each of my children, and list the things that they are asking for this season (I might omit a few things- like the pony and Macbook Air that they have requested.) These lists give you a starting point as you start leafing through the post-Thanksgiving flyers.
2. Make sure that you get the newspaper on Thanksgiving! It will be filled to the brim with all of the sale flyers that will help you plan your shopping strategy.
3. Start crafting your shopping list, by retailer, of where you plan to shop, and what their key deals are. Make a note of the time that each store opens, because the hottest deals will sell out first- often within the first few minutes of store opening.
4. Shop with a buddy. This is especially helpful if you want to grab more than one “door-buster deal” at a store- you and your friend can split up and “divide and conquer”.
5. Decide which stores you want to visit in person (at the “bricks and mortar” location)- vs. where you will be better off buying the deal online. Last year, I waited more than an hour in a line at Old Navy just to pay for my after-Thanksgiving purchases, when I could have purchased all of the same items online, and received free shipping! (Bonus tip: some retailers start their online savings on Thanksgiving Day- so you can shop in your jammies while the rest of the family is dozing off their big Turkey dinner!) And if you do decided to buy online- don’t forget about using ebates, extrabux, shop at home and to search for online coupons! (see here for details)
6. If you decide to head out to the stores, get up early and take advantage of the great early-bird specials! These are usually the best deals of the day- specifically designed to drive traffic into the stores first.
7. Know that some retailers (such as Wal-Mart) work with manufacturers to put together special promotional “bundles” on items- available only at that retailer while supplies last. For example, Wal-Mart has put together a kids Leapster bundle at a terrific price for the last several years- the device itself is at a rock-bottom price, and comes bundles with software.
8. Black Friday is also the best day to shop for electronics- so if you are in the market for a new TV, DVD player, video or still camera- this is the day for you! Whether or not you actually intend to give the item as a gift!
Tomorrow I will be previewing some of the Black Friday ads that will be running in Thursday’s paper! You can get a head start on your planning!