The Better Business Bureau recommends making lists and staying within a budget for Black Friday shoppers | Photo courtesy of Better Business Bureau, St. George News
ST. GEORGE – Black Friday, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year, comes a little earlier this year as many stores have launched their promotional campaigns months in advance.
Rather than alerting brave crowds for heavily discounted items, engaged shoppers are expected to shop online for deals much like last year — that is, if they haven’t finished their Christmas shopping, according to the Better Business Bureau.
Changes such as delivery delays, hiring difficulties and microchip shortages are affecting the way people shop. Retail experts are forecasting above-average crowds in stores and a percentage increase in spending on gifts, decorations and other holiday-related items.
So if you 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):
Get the most out of Black Friday deals
Start with a list of items and use sales flyers and promotions to determine which store has the best price. Set a budget and stick to it before you head out.
Read the fine print
Some retailers may offer an additional percentage on purchase, but may exclude certain offers or items such as “door breakers”. Watch out for companies with a high discount percentage; The item may be “75% off” but the original price may be inflated.
Check the price tags and terms and conditions carefully. Research online using a secure WiFi connection to see if competitors are offering the item at a better price.
Plan the trip
Sometimes there is no need to wait and see what deals are on offer on Black Friday. Retailers often release Black Friday flyers weeks in advance so consumers can plan their shopping spree.
Make a map of the stores to visit and which items are in which store. Some retailers only honor sales ads during certain periods or days and may limit the quantity of heavily discounted items available for purchase.
Sign up for email alerts
Many stores post their best Black Friday deals and exclusive coupons to people who subscribe to their emails. If you subscribed before the holiday season, consider unsubscribing afterwards if needed.
Read product reviews of heavily discounted items. It could be a cheaper model or brand advertised and not what was expected. Check the stores’ business profiles on BBB.org and read what other customers have experienced.
Find out about return policies and warranty information
Provide all information about returns, exchanges, repairs, and warranties to the person who will be using the item. Gift receipts are an easy way for recipients to return or exchange a gift if it doesn’t suit them, but make sure the item is returnable before purchasing.