Experts: How To Prepare for Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday, Woman holding many shopping bags while walking in the shopping mall background.
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It’s almost that time of year again: Black Friday holiday shopping season is upon us! Those gearing up to shop may need a few extra tricks up their sleeves this year to receive to maximize their dollars well spent. 

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Whether you’re a seasoned pro when it comes to Black Friday or looking for a few ways to stick to your budget, this prep advice will help you fight inflation and get gifts for everyone on your wish list. Here’s how to prepare now for Black Friday shopping.

Sign Up Now for Key Retailer Apps and Notifications

If you do a lot of your holiday shopping at a specific retailer, like Target or Walmart, now is the time to download their store apps and subscribe to notifications if you haven’t already. 

Rob Weisberg, GM, of incentives at Inmar Intelligence, said to start looking out for sales and deals now. If you see something you know you want or a deal too good to pass up, act quickly. Some industries are expected to still have supply chain issues. 

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Other retailers may not restock all items that are sold out. As Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com, has previously told GOBankingRates, companies like Costco may have a different schedule for holiday items than other retailers. If you like what you see for sale and don’t know if it will be there tomorrow, plan to buy it sooner than later.

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Sign Up for Loyalty Programs

While you’re signing up for apps and notifications, use this time to sign up for any loyalty programs provided by the companies you plan to shop at this year. Weisberg said these programs typically offer great deals and may even highlight special store hours. 

“Many retailers are investing to be able to personalize offers for shoppers, so by signing up and using your loyalty programs when you make purchases it can help you get more relevant offers in the future,” said Weisberg.

Follow Key Shopping Influencers and Brands

You’ve signed up for notifications and loyalty programs and downloaded apps. Now, it’s time to hit follow on the social media accounts for your favorite brands and shopping influencers.

Why follow stores and influencers? According to data from Inmar Intelligence, 67% of consumers have made a purchase based on content viewed on social media. More than 70% of consumers also look to influencers for product inspiration. And many brands, and influencers who have brand deals with these companies, will use their platforms to communicate deals. 

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By not following, it’s possible shoppers could be missing out on incredible Black Friday saving opportunities. Weisberg recommends scoping out your go-to influencers and brands to stay in the know on any special coupons or promotions they offer their followers or post about for Black Friday.

Focus on the Strongest Categories

Black Friday shopping can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to begin. Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at TrueTrae, recommends focusing on the strongest categories and waiting on everything else.

“I would suggest seeing where your gift list overlaps with the categories which will be the most deeply discounted, like tech, small home appliances, beauty products, fall apparel and footwear and plan your attack from there,” said Bodge.

As a holiday shopping pro tip, Bodge said Black Friday isn’t the only big holiday shopping day for sales. After Black Friday, shoppers can shop sales for Cyber Monday, Green Monday, Free Shipping Day and Super Saturday.

Save Even More Through Deal Sites

Shoppers looking for even more deals may feel like it’s hard to figure out where to start. Bodge recommends using deal sites, like Slickdeals, to save even more money.

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In recommending Slickdeals, Bodge said they have a community of 12 million deal-seekers who are working together to find the best deals out there. These deals will all be on the site’s Front Page where shoppers can find the best offers and combine them with retailer sales.

Check Return Policies

Part of good holiday shopping prep means factoring in the possibility of needing to return a purchased item. Now more than ever, it’s critical to understand your retailer’s return policy, because it may not be the same as another retailer.

Weisberg uses the example of some companies, like H&M, that are considering charging for returns. Others might go in the opposite direction and ask customers to keep items they wish to return instead of shipping them back. 

“It’s a complicated equation, and a savvy shopper should be in the know on the return policy of purchased goods, especially with a product purchased during a sale,” said Weisberg.

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About the Author

Heather Taylor is a senior finance writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the head writer and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been published on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global, and more media outlets. 

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