Tips to get exactly what you want this Black Friday – and how to avoid scams

Black Friday – the biggest online retail shopping day in the country – is almost here, and some retailers have already started building hype around the specials and deals that will be on offer locally.

While the massive sale day provides the perfect opportunity for shoppers to get an early start to their festive purchases, it has, in the past, been marked with issues including overloaded web pages, and failed transactions.

A few online retailers, including Superbalist and PriceCheck, are offering some advice and tips on how to get the most out of Black Friday, and how to make sure you’re covered for any bumps that might show up on the day.

  • Plan in advance

Black Friday is taking place on 24 November 2017, and will be followed by Cyber Monday on the 29th. While many of the specials and discounts are still under wraps, there’s nothing stopping you from creating a wishlist of items you would like.

This will serve you well in two ways: first, you can set boundaries and only look for items you really want (and avoid overspending), and second, you will be able to check out really quickly, and won’t waste time searching.

  • Set a budget

If you’re not sure what it is you’re looking for, decide how much you are willing to spend well ahead of time, and avoid buying for the sake of buying. While some specials and deals may look too good to pass up, be responsible, and mindful that a lengthy festive period still lies ahead.

Remember: if you are buying something that you don’t need or didn’t plan for, you’re not making a saving at all.

  • Check prices now

If you have a decent idea of what you would like to purchase, now would be a good time to scan those products and take note of the current prices. Some retailers may try to make their specials seem bigger than they are by inflating the price ahead of the Black Friday sale, or by basing their calculations off a ‘recommended retail price’ rather than the retail price they currently have.

Do this at a number of stores where your desired purchases are, to get a better idea of what the price point is, and how good any potential deal is.

  • Shop around

Look at a number of stores ahead of time (online or in retail) and take in where you can find what it is you’re looking for. Many retailers release their specials and deals ahead of the sale day, so you should have enough information to make a call on where you’re likely to get what you need.

There are other things to take into consideration beyond price – like availability, delivery costs, physical space (if you’re shopping brick and mortar) and other terms and conditions. The cheapest deal isn’t always necessarily the best deal.

  • Watch out for scams

Be on the lookout for scam sites looking to get hold of your credit card details. Make sure web pages are secure (https://) when transacting online, and that reputable payment services are being used. While some sales and discounts can be really big, the old adage of “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” still holds. Always triple check before making purchases.

  • Iron out the details

Make sure your details are up to date on your profiles at online stores to ensure checkout is as quick as possible. Check delivery costs and delivery dates (especially if you’re buying gifts), and see what the return policies are, in the event that your purchase is broken or needs to be refunded. Read the terms and conditions – many stores do not allow for refunds or returns on Black Friday purchases.

  • Hunt for bargains

If you’re on the hunt for deals and sales, your best bet is to check out who will be having sales, and effectively tether yourself to their social pages and newsletters – even if it’s just for the weeks leading up to the day.

Sales from the biggest retailers will be well advertised, but even niche shops and small outlets may have a great deal. In 2016 you could get anything from onesies to cycads at reduced prices. If you have a niche interest, or a special want, look at some of the specialist sites and shops and you may be surprised.

Remember – Black Friday isn’t only for consumer goods and retail, and many businesses also offer their services at discounted rates on the day.

  • Have a plan of action

Getting in early will ensure the best chance of success. If you plan on shopping online and brick and mortar, start with online, as any limited stock deals will be the first to go online. If you’re heading out to physical stores, be prepared to stand in queues.

Some online sales will launch at midnight on the day, so if you’re prepared to lose a little sleep, you can get an early lead. Either way, being first in line guarantees success.

  • Please be safe

For those who are going into physical stores – avoid getting pulled into or starting scuffles with other shoppers over items. While the draw of getting a great deal may put shoppers into somewhat of a frenzy, no discount is worth putting yourself or others in harm’s way.

Also keep an eye on your belongings, as criminal elements may try to take advantage of the crowds and attempt to get a Black Friday five-finger discount on your cellphone or wallet.

Read: What SA retailers need to know about Black Friday

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Tips to get exactly what you want this Black Friday – and how to avoid scams