Black Friday is one of the busiest days to shop in the year due to the vast number of reductions stores place on most of their items.
It's always a great opportunity to grab some bargains ahead of Christmas.
The high street has suffered massively over the past few years, with many people choosing to buy online, with Amazon, in particular, taking a large chunk of that custom.
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There are so many Black Friday deals that it’s very easy to get lost among all of the bargains and offers taking place. We all want to get the very best deal in the quickest time possible and so there may be a temptation to buy the first thing you see rather than shop around for a better deal.
We’ve collated our top 11 tips to help you enjoy the Black Friday sales and secure the cheapest and best deals to help make your Christmas extra special.
Research the products you want beforehand
The likelihood is most people will know what they want to buy in advance of Black Friday. Whether it’s a new television, the latest tech gadget, or beauty products, you should do some research about everything you want to consider buying so you are not left behind when the sales go live.
It doesn’t matter if the deal is good. If the product is bad, 50% off the retail price isn’t going to make it any better. It’s easy to get sucked into a good deal so know what you’re dealing with before you commit to it.
Add items to a wishlist ahead of time
Most online retailers have a wishlist option, where you can save potential purchases in their system for a future date if you are unsure, or just want to store them for when you can afford to buy.
If you can do this ahead of Black Friday, it will save you a lot of time on the day as you won’t have to manually trawl through the site to find them or be tempted into other deals.
Start early - some stores won’t wait until Black Friday
Black Friday is historically an American tradition but in the 2010s, US-owned retailers such as Amazon and Asda (owned by Walmart) began to host US-style Black Friday promotions. This then led to a surge of British-based retailers adopting similar traditions so they would not be left behind.
But in recent years, many promotions have started as early as the start of November as part of ’Black Friday month’. So it’s certainly worth keeping your eyes peeled for the retailers that opt to do that as you may be able to get your purchases much earlier than you’d hoped and save the stress of competition with millions of other bargain hunters on Nov 27.
Create a budget and stick to it
Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for shopping and retailers will do all they can to make products even more appealing to you. It sounds simple, but it’s so easy to be sucked into a deal for something you don’t need and get caught up in the excitement and overspend.
There's always going to be the temptation to just ‘stick it on the credit card’, which is fine if you can afford to pay it off. But just be careful; know what you want to spend ahead of time.
What’s the returns policy like?
Almost all retailers will have a returns policy but some won't as it’s not required by law. Therefore you need to know what your rights are before purchasing because it could prove costly if the store you make the purchase from doesn’t allow returns.
However, buying online does give you more flexibility as you can cancel a placed order within 14 days from the date of delivery, and have 14 days to return it for a full refund.
Most shops do offer an extended returns policy in the lead-up to Christmas, though, which is ideal if you’re buying a gift early. You should double-check if you are entitled to a full refund if you do need to return anything, or if you will be given a gift voucher of the same monetary value.
Sign up to store cards and rewards system
Many retailers now have a rewards system where you can accumulate points when you make a purchase. This can be useful in the future if you spend a lot of money at a particular store that offers this.
It’s also worth creating an online account with the stores you wish to shop in so you can save your card and personal details ahead of time.
See if click-and-collect is an option to avoid paying delivery fees
When you buy online, you will need to have your purchase delivered either to your address or alternatively, they may offer a click-and-collect option.
Some retailers waive delivery fees if your order is over a certain amount of money, but if you’re buying a lot of items from multiple stores, you may rack up a hefty sum.
There may be an option to click and collect, where you make the purchase and pick the item up from the store in person, free of charge. This could save you a considerable amount of money if you are looking to take advantage of the Black Friday sales.
Download the apps of the stores you like shopping at
Many retailers now have their own apps which you can download from the App Store on your phone for free. This is a good way of getting deals ahead of time, as some will send notifications when sales start or if you have tried to buy an item out of stock, you will be the first to know about it when it returns.
You can also get even better discounts by being a loyal customer and this is a simple way to save even more money.
Use social to find the best deals
Social media is the prime location for retailers to market their brand these days and Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, in particular, are already rife with ads with offers to lure you onto their sites.
If you want to be kept up to date with the best deals, follow your favourite brands on the platforms above and you will be one of the first to know exactly what they are doing.
Aside from the good deals, a lot of them now have a really strong marketing team that provides excellent content throughout the whole year, so it’s a win-win.
Be wary of uncommon brands
A deal may look appealing but do you know who the brand is? This is a common problem when mass sales are on is that people see the toppling numbers and think they’ve got a steal on their hands. Yes, 75% off of a £500 television sounds amazing, but do you know your Samsung from your Blaupunkt or your LG from your Bush?
It’s always worth being wary when buying expensive electricals and looking at reviews or getting a second opinion from someone who knows their stuff. It might be a good deal now, but will it be a year down the line?
Don’t forget about Cyber Monday
With all the hysteria about Black Friday’s imminent arrival, it’s easy to forget that the Monday after is Cyber Monday.
Now Black Friday has historically been the day you flock to the shops in person to make your purchases, with Cyber Monday being the day you do your online shopping. Obviously this year it’s going to be very much online all the way, so in essence, we’re getting a four-day Black Friday weekend.
However, some retailers will wait until Monday to promote their tech goods, so it’s certainly worth delaying that type of purchase until the start of next week.
And that’s it. Everything you need to know ahead of Black Friday to stand you in good stead in getting the best deals possible.
Good luck, and happy shopping!