CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Black Friday, traditionally the single busiest shopping day of the year, arrives a little earlier this year, with many stores already advertising Black Friday prices. Instead of setting an alarm to brave crowds for deeply discounted items, dedicated shoppers are expected to look for deals online, similar to last year -- that is, if they haven't already finished their holiday shopping. Changes, such as the shipping delays, continued pandemic, hiring challenges and microchip shortages, are impacting how people will shop. Retail experts are predicting higher than normal crowds in the stores and increased percentages in spending on gifts, decorations, and other holiday-related items.
If you do decide to shop in person on Black Friday, the Better Business Bureau offers these tips to make your shopping experience productive (and maybe even enjoyable):
Stay Safe. Follow CDC guidelines to be healthy and safe while in the store.
Make the most of Black Friday deals. Start with a list of items and use sale flyers and promotions to determine which store has the best price. Set a budget and stick with it before heading out.
Read the fine print. Some retailers may offer an additional percentage off the purchase, but could exclude certain deals or items such as “doorbusters.” Watch for companies boasting a high percentage off; the item may be “75% off,” but the original price could be inflated. Carefully check the price tags, terms and conditions. Research online using a secure wifi connection to see if competitors have the item at a better price.
Plan out the excursion. Sometimes it's not necessary to wait to see what deals will be offered on Black Friday. Retailers often will release Black Friday flyers weeks ahead of time, so consumers can plan out their shopping spree. Make a map of the stores to visit and what items are at which store. Some retailers only honor sale ads during a certain time frame, or on certain days, and could limit the amount of deeply discounted items available for purchase.
Sign-up for email alerts. Many stores release their best Black Friday deals and exclusive coupons to people who have subscribed to their emails. Sign up ahead of the holiday season, and then unsubscribe afterwards if needed.
Do your research. Read product reviews on extremely discounted items. It could be a cheaper model or brand advertised, and not what was expected. Check BBB.org's business profiles of the stores and read what other customers have experienced.
Know the return policy and warranty information. Pass along any information about returns, exchanges, repairs, and warranties to the person who will use the item. Gift receipts are an easy way for recipients to return or exchange a gift if it’s not just right, but make sure the item is able to be returned before purchasing.
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