For dedicated holiday deal hunters, Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday shopping frenzy. With sales starting earlier and earlier, those elusive "doorbuster deals" can be hard to get your hands on. Whether you're a seasoned Black Friday pro, or considering joining the crowds this year, your computer or smart phone can help you plan your Black Friday attack by finding the best deals before you even set foot in the store.
Just how can technology help you this Black Friday? Take a look!
Preview the ads: You don't have to wait for the early morning paper to arrive to check out the money saving Black Friday ads. Fire up your computer and check out blackfriday by BradsDeals for Black Friday preview ads from major retailers. Use ad previews to compare prices along with the store hours tab to plan your day.
Plan your strategy: For a plethora of tips on how to make the most of your limited time and resources on Black Friday, check out valuable insider info offered by dealnews.com whose motto is "where every day is Black Friday." For example, their posting "The Facts Behind 14 Black Friday Myths" reveals that you don't necessarily need to camp out to get a great deal. Last year dealnews.com performed a survey of prices and found "70% of in-store Black Friday deals were also available online for the same price - or less!" The site also provides links to a list of stores that price match, letting you know what to hold off buying to snag an even better price (for example, prices on toys hit rock bottom two weeks before Christmas). Need more reason to visit dealnews.com? They even offer online shopping tips such as, don't wait for Cyber Monday - most retailers offer their best prices starting on Thanksgiving Day! With a little research, you can shop like a pro this Black Friday, even if it's your first year.
Leverage your social connections: Register for your favorite stores' loyalty programs, sign up for their email notifications, connect via social media, or download their mobile shopping app for access to exclusive discounts, coupons and sale previews not released to the general public. According to dealnews.com, "Many stores now offer dedicated shopping apps, Twitter feeds, and Facebook pages where followers are rewarded with exclusive discounts and coupon codes." Lowes, Sears, Kohl's, JC Penney's, and Target have all offered special privileges to members of their loyalty programs or credit cards, from "sneak peaks" of what will be on sale, to actual advance access to the deals themselves. Walmart is also offering exclusive store maps to shoppers that "like" them on Facebook or download the Walmart Mobile app. Armed with a store map, you can send out scouts to divide and conquer, ensuring a better chance at snagging more of those limited-supply items.
Save money with your smart phone: More and more shoppers are using handheld electronics, particularly smart phones, to price-compare items in a retail store with what's available online or across the street. Some call it "showrooming" - checking out a product in a "brick-and-mortar" store before buying it online for less. Retailers aren't blind to this practice and in order to encourage shoppers to buy it now, many are improving their price-matching offers. For example, through December 24 th Target will match a price of the same item online, even from competitors such as Amazon and Walmart. Best Buy is offering a similar short-term price matching offer with a few additional exceptions (see store or website for full details). If you take a few extra moments to use a price comparison app such as ShopSavvy (available for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone) and find it for less at a major competitor, you may actually be able to snag a better price without ever having to leave the store.
Good luck, brave shoppers, but more importantly, Happy Thanksgiving!
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