The day after Thanksgiving is the single busiest shopping day of the year! American consumers plan to spend an average $935.58 during the holiday shopping season this year, according to National Retail Federation’s survey conducted by Prosper Insights. Retailers are gearing up for the big day, especially the “big box” stores that sell name brand appliances, housewares, electronics, and other popular gift items. Newspapers are stuffed with sale flyers, commercials are promoting the “doorbuster” deals, and online ads promise the best bargains.
If you plan on shopping this Black Friday, the Better Business Bureau has provided these tips to make your shopping experience productive… and maybe even enjoyable:
- Create a budget and stick to it. Make a list, determine how much you can afford to spend on each person and…stick to it!
- Compare deals. There are many retailers and websites that will claim to capture the best deals. Comparison shop ahead of time, before you head out to the mall to make your Black Friday shopping more efficient.
- Maximize Advance Alerts. Do you have favorite retailers? Sign up for their email alerts and take advantage of special social network opportunities. Many stores work to reward your loyalty and you may get a jump on special offers. Many stores release their best Black Friday deals to people who have signed up to receive their emails. Just make sure it’s the real business and not a scammer.
- Know store return policies. Knowing the store policies on returns can help you decide where to buy. Retailers may include restocking fees, shorter return deadlines, and other terms and conditions. Also, be sure you understand the return policy on seasonal sale items.
- Ask for gift receipts. Gift receipts generally include a description of the item purchased but do not disclose the price paid. Without proof-of-purchase, the recipient may be turned down for returning or exchanging an item or risk receiving an exchange or refund at a lower price.
- Learn about advertising tricks and gimmicks. The BBB #AdTruth campaign highlights bad ads and helps you learn to identify the most common schemes and cons. Check it out at bbb.org/adtruth. (Tell BBB of false advertising so we can look into it)
- Do your research. Read product reviews, check out bbb.org for Business Reviews, look at the sales flyers and ads, compare prices, look for early promotions and “flash sales.”
- Read the fine print. Some stores only honor sale ads during a certain time frame, or on certain days. Some stores may only allow you to purchase one item, particularly large, popular and/or deeply discounted products.
- Know the advertiser. Some of the best deals are only available online, but be careful. It’s easy for a fake site to mimic a famous retailer’s website, so make sure you are shopping with a legitimate site. Check out bbb.org to read more about stores or websites unfamiliar to you.