November 6, 2011

Our Black Friday Strategy

We have a strategy we employee every black Friday for the past few years, and no it does not involve waiting in line all night or getting up pre dawn, or even fighting massive crowds. I hate crowds, cold, and lack of sleep. Instead our strategy starts super early and involves a lot of advance planning, with very little lifting on the actual day.

Know the Season. It starts earlier and earlier. There are targeted “Black Friday” like sales throughout the months of October and November. I tend to wait for sales for most purchases, but starting in September I hold off on most major purchases. Anything that we don’t need right away and a possible candidate for a Black Friday goes on a Black Friday wish list. Best candidates for black Friday sales: electronics – especially video game related, or digital picture frames, TVs, VCRs, personal laptops, cameras, both point and shoot and DSLR camera bodies and kits, etc – winter clothing, household items, kitchen appliances.

This year I’ve been holding off on a new dust buster. Ours is functional, but we generally need to do a couple passes to pick up all the dirt. As long as it doesn’t die, I refuse to replace it until the sale is right.

Plan in Advance. The list helps me stick to a plan, and keeps me from being overwhelemed. The items on the list are the things we need, so these are the things I will search for. I use pre-Black Friday announcements to find stores offering discounts on the things I want. I keep track of multiple stores per item, since I adamantly refuse to wait in line in the cold over night, sometimes the door busters are gone by the time I am ready to shop. Our goal is to find great deals – not necessarily the best possible.

The Day Of. After waking up from our tryptophan induced sleep we start with a hardy brunch. Most of the diehard black Friday enthusiasts are winding down, and heading home to nap. At this point, anything deal that hasn’t already sold out, is not likely to in the next couple of hours, so we don’t feel particularly rushed. Shopping on a full stomach after a full night of sleep is so much more pleasant.

Be Persistent. Just because the door busters are gone at one target, doesn’t mean they’re gone at another. We’ve been surprised at how one store will be completely out of an item, and another store not five miles away still has all their’s stock. If there’s something you really want, don’t give up. Try multiple places. Remember some stores will price match. So if Target is out of dyson vaccum cleaners, you may still get your deal by taking the sales flyer to Best Buy.

Evening/Two Day Deals Both Target and Walmart do a “two-day” black Friday. This means they hold off on some merchandise to put out for Saturday. Last year we were in Target around midnight Friday, when they were bringing out pallets for the next day. We scored both a crockpot and a toaster from Target, simply by being in the right place at the right time.

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