As the clock ticks down, here are some Black Friday shopping tips to help you make the most of the UK’s biggest shopping day of the year.
1. Preparation is the key! If you know what’s going to be on sale before
hand, it’s easier to check if it’s a good offer or not. Sign up for your favourite retailers’ newsletters, ‘like’ their Facebook pages and register for Twitter alerts, as they’ll be keen to publicise their best deals.
2. Find out whether retailers will match prices. Some retailers, such as John Lewis, will match prices on Black Friday deals. Most other shops don’t have price-matching policies, but may agree to refund the difference if you challenge them about a price drop soon after you’ve bought something.
3. Sign up now for online accounts with the retailers you intend to purchase from. Make sure you’re signed in to your account before you start shopping. Consider pre-entering your payment details and shipping details and saving them to your account so you can complete purchases quickly. Last year, the increased traffic meant many websites slowed to a crawl on Black Friday, so you’ll want to get in and out as quickly as possible.
4. Research the products you want beforehand. It’s no use grabbing a bargain if the product’s no good. Read product reviews from reputable sources like Which (the source of many of these shopping tips!)
5. Research prices as well. There are useful web tools you can use to check how much a product has actually been sold for previously. CamelCamelCamel, for example, provides price history for products sold on Amazon.
6. If you’re shopping for tech, know the lifecycles. Most tech products, including smartphones, TVs and tablets, are released on a one-year cycle. The tech companies will do their best to tempt you into buying their latest release, but the device celebrating its first birthday could still be more than adequate, and it’s also far more likely to be on sale.
7. Make a list of different retailers selling the same product. The rush in activity on Black Friday can cause websites to crash and retailers to run out of stock. If this happens while you’re trying to buy a product, having a pre-prepared list of stockists will mean you can try others so you don’t miss out.
8. Create a wish-list. Some websites, including Amazon, let you set up a wish-list for all the things you want to buy. Having everything in a list makes it easy to see when the price drops, which is especially useful on Black Friday when big websites will be flooded with deals for things you don’t want. Rather than trawling through every product on sale, you can click in to your list to see whether anything you have your eye on is on offer.
9. Start your Black Friday shopping early if possible. Most online Black Friday deals will go live at the stroke of midnight, UK time (7.00 pm Thursday evening in Jamaica, and 8.00 pm in the rest of the Caribbean.) Some retailers are offering deals even now, so you might not even need to wait until it’s officially Black Friday.
10. Don’t forget about Cyber Monday. Some retailers, particularly those focused on computing, will have deals on laptops, desktop PCs, printers and more. If you didn’t get the product you wanted on Black Friday, then keep checking over the weekend and on Monday to see more deals.
11. Check the returns policy Just in case you regret your Black Friday purchase, double-check what the retailer’s returns policy is for Black Friday items before you buy. You can only return non-faulty goods for an exchange or refund if the retailer has a returns policy – almost all shops do, but they’re not required to by law. If what you’ve bought is faulty, that’s a different matter. You have 30 days to reject it and get your money back.
12. Look at the price, not the ‘saving’ Don’t assume a deal is worth it just because it has a big, attention-grabbing saving. Offers like ‘was £100, now £50’, in our experience, exaggerate the discount you’re actually getting.
13. Haggle using retailers’ live chat feature if available. There’s always a chance you could shave a little more off the price via online chat. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. The worst that can happen is that they say no.
14. Let your bank know that you will be using your credit card to do extra online shopping. This will prevent your transactions from being flagged and your card from being blocked. 15. Do the bulk of your Christmas shopping (or even all of it) now. Better to seize the bargains during Black Friday, and get the gift-shopping out of the way. Remember, for us to be able to ship your packages to you in time for Christmas, we need to get them at our warehouse no later than the second week of December. Happy shopping!