Are you planning to shop Black Friday sales this year? Whether you want to treat yourself after a hard 2020 or need to buy gifts for friends and family, you'll have plenty of events to take advantage of. This year, more than ever, it's going to be important to make the most of every minute. Check out our guide below on the 10 biggest Black Friday mistakes not to make.
10 Ways You're Doing Black Friday Wrong
1. You're Skipping Black Friday
Sales happen year-round. White sales kick off the year, plenty of spring and summer events pop up, and then fall brings its own savings with Back to School, Labor Day, and more. So you might be wondering, "Are Black Friday deals worth it? Is Black Friday really cheaper?"
The good news is Black Friday is absolutely worth all the hype. Almost everything you can think of goes on sale in some capacity, with the best discounts being 50% or higher. Even Apple items — which practically never go on sale — see significant discounts during Black Friday.
It's worth noting that not all Black Friday deals are a good buy (more on that below), but you can still find great offers. You just have to know where to look.
2. You're Only Shopping on Black Friday
We often refer to Black Friday as if it's only one day. While Black Friday technically is the day after Thanksgiving, the deal season has stretched to include much more than just those 24 hours. Most sales tend to start the week of Black Friday and continue through the weekend to the following week. Last year, we saw over 5,000 deals during the two weeks around Black Friday, and 42% of those were Staff Picks — in other words, deals we considered the "best of the best."
Black Friday 2020 will fall on November 27, but due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, some retailers are changing things up. Many are planning weeks of deals this year, rather than just a few days worth. Because of this, we're expecting some deals to start as early as late October, and they'll likely continue to pop up throughout November.
3. You're Not Planning for Black Friday Early Enough
Waiting for the Black Friday sales to begin before you start planning will only ensure you're rushed when trying to complete your shopping. You could also end up spending more than you want to because you'll be so worried about missing out on a deal. Now's the time to at least start crafting your Black Friday strategy.
While we haven't seen any of the Black Friday ads come out yet, at least make a list of what you're hoping to buy during Black Friday. You have time to conduct research, to see what kinds of price lows the different items have seen. Then you can determine what your ideal price is, as well as the maximum price you're okay paying. And you can decide which stores you'll want to shop at. Once you have that information figured out, hunting through the ads when they're released will be much easier.
4. You're Assuming All Black Friday Deals Are Good Deals
We see thousands of deals every year during the Black Friday season, but that doesn't mean they're all worth shopping. Before you add any deal to your cart, take a moment to do a price check. If you've done the research laid out above, you should have a pretty good idea if the offer is at a good price. The point is, don't snag something just because it's listed as a Black Friday deal — make sure you're getting the best price before you buy.
5. You're Ignoring Black Friday Doorbuster Deals
Stores are always trying to entice shoppers with doorbusters that are short-lived but really awesome offers. Normally, these promotions are only available on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but this year, big stores like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy will be closed on Thanksgiving. So what will that mean for doorbusters? And are early Black Friday deals worth it?
We've seen doorbusters move online in the last few years, and we expect them to have an even bigger online presence this year. With stores planning to close on Thanksgiving, it doesn't seem like it'd make sense for them to push in-store-only doorbusters.
Getting out of bed early can be a hassle, but the good news is that this year you might not have to. Keep your laptop or phone handy, wake up early, and shop right from your cozy bed. If doorbusters are similar to the ones we saw last year, we can expect huge TV sets, like a Samsung 70" 4K TV for $550. There was also an Element 65" 4K Roku TV for $280. These offers were great last year, and if we see them return, they'd be worth snatching up again.
When Black Friday ads start dropping, take a few minutes to see if the doorbusters will have any restrictions. This year, that might include being one-day-only, or early access for different shoppers. Once you learn how stores are running their offers this year, you'll know what's going to be worth your time.
6. You're Only Shopping In-Store on Black Friday
If you're worried about not being able to shop in-store for Black Friday this year, the truth is you shouldn't be focusing much on in-store shopping anyway. Yes, sometimes we see in-store-only deals, but retailers are moving away from them. And we don't expect stores to be pulling that stunt this year unless they want bad press.
That being said, we expect online shopping to be especially strong this Black Friday. And while stores might be closed on Thanksgiving, rarely do they decide to also shutter their sites, meaning you can still shop your list without leaving the house.
7. You're Not Spending Your Black Friday Credits
Often Black Friday deals get a boost by being bundled with gift cards, store credit, or rebate offers. While earning those is easy, if you don't use them later on, you're cheating yourself out of savings. Whether it's a store gift card, Kohl's Cash, or a mail-in rebate, make sure to find something to use it on.
However, be honest with yourself. A TV deal from Dell Home bundled with a $200 Dell Home gift card could be an excellent promotion. But if you aren't going to spend the gift card, the savings might not be worth it to you.
8. You're Ignoring Any Product That Isn't New
You might feel a little uncertain about products that are refurbished or open-box, but there's no reason to inherently be suspicious of them. Online retailers like eBay offer these kinds of items at deep discounts for Black Friday.
When it comes to refurbished items, the term can mean a few different things, but as long as you're careful, you should know exactly what you're getting. Looking at a product labeled as "open-box"? Usually, that just means exactly what it sounds like — that the box has been opened. These items tend to be ones that were returned for some reason, but not necessarily for a defect of any kind.
Before buying an open-box or refurbished model, be sure to check the return policy. That way you'll know the steps to take if your product arrives with issues.
9. You're Expecting Free Shipping on Black Friday
We've been spoiled with free shipping expectations, largely due to Amazon Prime. While some stores may lower their free shipping thresholds for Black Friday, don't expect outright free shipping to be a popular trend. In fact, you can expect many stores to adhere to thresholds around $50 to $100.
If you won't be spending that much, see if curbside pickup is an option. Alternatively, it's okay to pay for shipping — especially if the amount is reasonable and you're still spending less than you would if you tried to reach a threshold, or if you'd have to travel a long distance for pickup.
10. You're Counting on Black Friday Price Matching
Savvy shoppers know that sometimes a price match is the best way to save. However, don't expect stores to offer up this perk during Black Friday. Often stores will suspend price matching and adjustments for Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. And others will suspend it for two full weeks, from the Monday before Black Friday to the end of the next week.
Some stores are extending their policies this year. But it's important to note that these can be highly restrictive. For instance, Target has pointed out it'll be opening its policy up to include purchases made between November 1 and November 28. The kicker is that it'll only apply if the price drops at a Target store or on Target's website on or before December 24. Before including a price adjustment or match as part of your savings strategy, see what kind of qualifications you'll have to meet in order to do so.
Readers, how are you preparing for Black Friday 2020? Let us know in the comments below.