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It’s America’s biggest shopping weekend of the year. In just a couple days, millions of Americans will claw, trample, hit, and mace one another in an effort to save a few dollars on consumer electronics.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are special days for the tech world. If you want to get the best possible deals, you need to know how to outwit, outplay, and outlast your competition. Here are 5 easy tips that will help you do exactly that:
5) Search Google using model numbers
Model numbers are an extremely important part of the Black Friday shopping experience. Black Friday has become such an important event that many retailers create model numbers designed exclusively for sale for Thanksgiving.
Let’s say Wal Mart has a 55 inch HDTV for sale for $400. You think that’s awesome. You look at the model number and plug it into Google. You find nothing but Wal Mart listings. That’s bad.
Why? Because it appears Wal Mart has exclusively released that TV for sale for Black Friday. You know nothing about the actual quality of the piece, but it’s more likely bad than good.
When looking at Black Friday deals, search Google for the model number and only buy products when model numbers show up on plenty of other websites – ideally, the manufacturer’s website. With this method, you know the product is of a certain level of quality and you can read reviews and look at benchmark statistics without worrying about getting scammed by an inferior quality TV – even if it is listed at a killer price.
4) Use Black Friday apps
Of course there are Black Friday apps. Here are a few good ones worth your time:
TGI Black Friday: This is the most popular Black Friday app. It features a clean design and easy interface. You can sort through deals based on popularity and category. You also don’t need to make an account to add favorite deals to your wish list. You can download it for Android and iPhone.
ShopSavvy: ShopSavvy lets you scan bar codes of various products to see if better deals are available online or at nearby stores. Just scan the bar code using your phone’s camera. I recommend using ShopSavvy for discovering the actual regular price of Black Friday sales, not the inflated regular prices that retailers often use to over-hype their discounts. For Android and iPhone.
BlackFriday.com: This is another deal finder app similar to TGI Black Friday. It gives users the ability to find deals by store, price range, and department. You can also view doorbuster deals at each store. For Android and iPhone.
3) Stay home and save
Cyber Monday is usually the day where you stay home and shop online to save money. But many retailers have realized that people don’t want to climb over trampled bodies in order to save $200 on a new TV.
Amazon.com has already reduced some of its prices for Black Friday. Microsoft and Dell’s online stores have also joined in on the action. Don’t get caught up in the Black Friday hype. Sometimes, the best deals are found from the comfort of your PC’s office chair.
2) Cross check, cross check, and cross check
The smartest shoppers on Black Friday are the ones who trust their research, not their gut instinct. Trusting your research is easy when you cross check a lot.
Cross checking works like this: you see a 15” PC laptop from Best Buy for only $300. It looks like a good deal. But you can get other 15” PC laptops for $350 from Wal Mart. How do the specs compare? What do user reviews online say? Is the product reliable?
Cross check everything. Cross check your 55” TV to see if there are other 55” TVs listed at a similar price with a higher quality or from a more reliable manufacturer.
Yes, it takes a bit of work, but Black Friday is all about saving as much money as possible. A little research goes a long way and can be the difference between getting a good deal and failing miserably at Black Friday shopping.
1) Understand that some retailers actually do lose money on Black Friday
According to the Wall Street Journal, Black Friday deals have become so good that many retailers lose money on them. In most cases, these deals are of the ‘doorbuster’ variety.
Yes, retailers lose money on a lot of doorbuster deals. But they only have a few units of these deals available. They make a lot of money from other products because once you’re in the door, you’re probably going to buy something anyway.
So if there’s a lesson to be learned, it’s this: doorbuster deals are good. So good, in fact, that you’re forcing the retailer to take a loss. Non-doorbuster deals aren’t anything special, and you may be better off waiting for after Christmas to buy these products at an even better discount.