Posts Tagged ‘Black Friday’

Disclosure: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission with each affiliate link click. For more details please see my full disclosure about blog profit.

Perhaps it’s because the weather’s been cooler this summer than normal, or maybe it’s that Hallmark’s ornament premium is tomorrow, but I have winter holidays on the brain! I even read Llama Llama Holiday Drama to Nicki as her bed time story last night. Since we’ve been spending a lot of time going through everything we own I’ve been starting to make our Black Friday wish list.

Here’s what I’m hoping to find deals for:

New Screw drivers The blades on all our screw drivers are pretty worn down. When assembling our desk I had to constantly switch between them trying to find one with enough grip to get the job done. I’d really like to get one or two high quality screw drivers that will outlast me. Tools are a popular holiday gift, and you can usually find them on sale.

New Coffee Maker Poor Domingo. His barely six month old coffee maker is already seeing better days. Both the coffee pot lid and the lip of pot are deformed from the heat of the washing machine. The lid no longer sits on the pot, and the pot is prone to spilling. Prone to spilling is not big deal per se, which is why we’re willing to wait for a replacement. Given how much he does around the house for me, I’d really like him to have a “nice” coffee maker. Alas, not being a coffee drinker myself I don’t really know what features constitute “nice”, so I’ll have to do more consumer research on this one.

What we (probably) won’t wait for:

New Shaver for Domingo This is another item that went kaput way earlier than we expected. Domingo has been using his backup/travel shaver in the mean time. Given that Black Friday is still 4 months away, I’m not entirely sure we’re going to wait on this one. Since it’s his shaver I’m leaving the decision of wait or not up to him.

IPhone 6 I’ve been using an IPhone 4s and eligible for a phone upgrade since February. At the time, there were some rumors that the iPhone 6 might make a debut during the World Wide Developer Conference in June, and was supposed to have a significantly improved camera over the IPhone 5s. I didn’t want to update my phone and have the camera component be obsolete again in a few months. The new rumor is September. I’m hoping this one is true, as I’d very much like to have a better camera phone for Ziggy’s arrival! (I plan to use my DSLR more, but late’s face it, the camera phone is easier…) Given that I’m not the kind of person to wait in line overnight when not pregnant, and Ziggy’s due date is November 20th, waiting for a Black Friday deal may be tricky.

SodaStream Fountain Jet Home Soda Maker Starter Kit, Black and Silver We live in a top floor apartment towards the end of the hall. Carrying groceries, but especially something heavy like drinks back and forth from the car can get real tiring, real fast, especially at the end of a long day. Last year there were a tone of Black Friday deals, so I was planning on waiting for another Black Friday, but noticed they were in the middle of a $20 rebate promotion. That brings the effective price to be in line with the average Black Friday deal last year (although last year there were a few better bundle deals). I found the cheapest one above the $65 minimum needed for the rebate and decided to make the purchase now. The added cost will be offset by a few extra months of usage. After I made the purchase Domingo pointed out we can make other carbonated beverages, like sparkling apple juice. I have been craving it all pregnancy with Ziggy. Double win.

A word of caution: if you go with the amazon one, do NOT accept the 10% coupon. The rebate is not valid with any coupons. Unless your buying a $200 soda stream, the rebate will be a better choice.

What we’re considering, but only if we find a super awesome deal:

Dishwasher safe Knives (and other odds and ends) The switch to dishwasher safe dishes has been an awesome time savor. (Seriously Calaphon, why couldn’t the contemporary line have been dishwasher safe before we set up our wedding registry?!) So now we’re making an even bigger push to have only dishwasher safe items. The biggest issue right now is the knife set. The set, like most of our good kitchen stuff, is Calaphon brand. It doesn’t appear that they make dishwasher safe knives, so I’ll have to do consumer research to find out good brands. I likely won’t have time to pick out a new set and hunt for the best deals before the holiday sales start. (Deals on kitchen stuff tend to be early November, sometimes even late October in preparation for Thanksgiving.)


Update: Domingo did a little research and found the after school sale season is a good time to buy a shaver. Guess we won’t be waiting until Black Friday after all! The back to school sign sales flyers already starting to circulate.

December 7, 2013

Black Friday Addendum

Disclosure: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission with each affiliate link click. For more details please see my full disclosure about blog profit.

My order of the Step 2 LifeStyle Dream Kitchen was still on hold as yesterday, so Domingo and I decided to go ahead and cancel it. It didn’t seem likely to arrive on time, and our second choice of play kitchens (the LifeStyle Custom Kitchen) was on sale on Amazon. It’s a good price (the same price that I got the bigger Dream Kitchen, actually) and comes with free shipping which the Dream Kitchen did not. Not as good a deal overall, but still a good deal.

The Cottage arrived earlier than expected. Domingo and I had just gotten Nicki down for bed when the doorbell rang at 8 pm. The thing was huge, nearly as tall as our Christmas tree! We were debating about saving it for Christmas and setting it up early, that is, until we saw the box. I wanted Nicki to have a ‘big present’ under the tree, but not one the size of the tree! I was beginning to feel like we had gone waaaaaay overboard this holiday season.

This morning I set it up outside while Domingo watched Nicki. Actually, I set it up around them, working on the pieces they weren’t playing with. At one point Domingo had both side walls standing up with the windows open and Nicki was crawling through them and running around in circles. Even though all the pieces are laying flat in the box to conserve space, the assembled cottage didn’t seem nearly as obnoxiously big as the box. It fit nicely on our patio, with plenty of room to spare. Nicki has been tickled pink with it. In, out. Open, closed. Around again. She keeps asking to go back outside.

I think the cottage is going to win as my favorite black Friday purchase yet. With the park 15 to 20 minutes away, there are times when we’d like to get Nicki outside to run around, but just don’t have the time before we have to start dinner, or be some place. Now we can let her play outside and burn off all that crazy toddler energy.

Though not a Black Friday purchase, I’m also in love with my Dyson Slim. I bought it in October right after we moved and shortly before finding out it was going to be a Black Friday sale item. Normally missing out on a deal sours me a little on a product, but the slim is so cool I can forgive the universe for this one. I love how versatile and maneuverable it is, and have taken to holding it ‘gangsta style’ with the handle horizontal simply because I can. We got it so we wouldn’t have to bend over cleaning up all the spilled kitty litter with the hand vac, but it’s proving to be quite effective near a certain toddler’s high chair. I know, I know – I’m a mom, with a blog, who loves a vacuum. I’m a cliche.

December 1, 2013

Black Friday 2013 Recap

Disclosure: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission with each affiliate link click. For more details please see my full disclosure about blog profit.

Another Black Friday has come and gone. Much like last year most of my shopping was done online. The major difference this time around was more than half of it occurred before the Turkey even came out of the refrigerator, and it was one of our best years to date with an average saving of 48%! That is, assuming none of our purchases fall through. I’ll get to that.

Thanksgiving morning I got up with Nicki to give Domingo a chance to get a little more sleep. While she was eating breakfast I decided to check the websites of some of the stores whose deals we were hoping to snag, to see if any of the deals were live yet. The Step 2 Cottage was already on sale on Toys R Us matched by Amazon, as was another item Domingo wanted to get his father for Christmas. (Actually Amazon’s deal for Domingo’s dad’s gift was a few dollars cheaper on Amazon, a happy surprise.) In my cart both went. That’s my kind of shopping: in the comfort of my own home, at a leisurely pace, exactly what I wanted at the price point I wanted.

Alas, the Step 2 Kitchen, was not available online from Toys R Us, nor price matched on Amazon. I figured I would wait until 5pm eastern standard time (the time Toys R Us was opening it’s doors on the East coast) to see if Amazon would price match then. Nada. Okay, 5pm our time. Still nope. I was bummed, but hopeful for a surprise lightening deal.

I continued to monitor Toys R Us and Amazon’s websites throughout the day and Friday. To my surprise Friday morning the kitchen was suddenly available for shipping. In the shopping cart it went. While in the middle of the check out, right after supplying my credit card information, I suddenly found myself viewing my cart. I was confused. Did I click the wrong thing? Did I finished checking out? The kitchen was still in my cart, and I hadn’t received a confirmation number so I decided to try again. The checkout process failed at the same place the second time, with the kitchen still in my cart. The third time I tried to check out I was told my purchase couldn’t be completed because my cart was empty. I went back to the search page, but the kitchen was now listed as sold out. I was very bummed. Eight hours later the kitchen was once again available for shipping. This time, on the second try, I was able to confirm the purchase and received an order confirmation number, but an hour later I received an email saying there was a problem fulfilling my order. The kitchen is back ordered.

I am questing whether my order will be fulfilled in time for Christmas. My experience on toysrus.com reminds me of the bestbuy.com website glitches of 2011. BestBuy’s front end website had no notion of how much inventory was still available, and too many orders went through. BestBuy was ultimately unable to fulfill all those orders, and had to cancel someone of them. The constant fluctuations between in and out of stock could be due to a similar inventory accounting problem. Maybe my order kept failing because there wasn’t a product in stock to buy? Toys R Us’ original estimated delivery date was mid December. While my order isn’t canceled, I no longer have an estimated shipment date, and there’s not a lot of slack time between mid December and Christmas.

I am trying not to be too pessimistic. Domingo pointed out that the BestBuy shoppers had no idea there was a problem with their orders until a few days before Christmas because BestBuy had no idea there was a problem with the orders. This isn’t the case here, as I have already received an email from Toys R Us letting me know of the delay. From Twitter and Facebook it sounds like I wasn’t the only one this happened to, and some other folks had their orders out right canceled. Toys R Us didn’t cancel my order, which likely means they think they can fulfill it.

Fingers crossed.

Anyway, here’s what worked for us this time around:

Checking Early if the Deal was Live – For stores with a physical presence “Thursday, midnight!” corresponds to a single, specific time. A website, on the other hand, could have a physical presence in multiple time zones and receive visitors from all over the world. Do they mean Thursday according to where the website servers are located (which could be anywhere in the world and even multiple locations)? The company headquarters? The potential shoppers?

In the past two years I’ve found many retailers have soft start times, and the kind folks answering the help lines often don’t know exactly when the sales start. We discovered some deals went live when it was Thursday in Europe & Asia, but still Wednesday here in the US.

Keeping Multiple Tabs For Easy Deal Checking – I kept a tab open for each product/retailer combination I was considering. I had the play kitchen opened on Amazon’s website, Toys R Us, and Target. Periodically I’d refresh each page to see what the current offer price was. I found this worked better than price alerts websites which are usually restricted from crawling merchant websites too often.

November 26, 2013

Deals That Aren’t

Disclosure: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission with each affiliate link click. For more details please see my full disclosure about blog profit.

Behavioral economics is a field of study that explores the hows and why of consumer shopping; the social, cognitive and even emotional decisions that are in play during a purchase. As consumers like to think of ourselves as rational, but we can often be influenced by other factors that lead us to make irrational decisions. Consider free shipping. Consumers (myself included) typically hate shipping costs, and will pay more for an item with free shipping thinking they’re getting a better overall deal (not necessary). Another emotional decision influencer is the presence of sale signs. We’re more likely to make a purchase if we think we’re getting a better deal. Some retailers are marking up prices to offer better ‘sales’ without lowering the final price this holiday season.

My tips to avoid sales that aren’t sales:

Start with a list. Lists are great in general to curb impulse buys as they can keep you focused. Spend some time figuring out what features you like (and thus are willing to pay for) and what features you don’t mind (but won’t pay extra for). It’s probably too late for this season, but I recommend creating your list before looking at any holiday circulars to avoid any subconscious influence.

Get a baseline price. Once you have your list do some comparison shopping. I typically use CamelCamelCamel.com and Baby Cheapskate to get an idea how much the things I’m interested in historically have cost. I’ll also typically do a internet search to find out what other retailers are selling an item for. These datapoints can give me a base line price that help me distinguish if an item is actually on sale and how good the sale is.

For example, that Calphalon Unison Cookware Set? Amazon says the list price is $1000, and thus the $335 price was 67% off. Or so they claimed. CamelCamelCamel lists the average price from amazon as $537, and Bed Bath and Beyond list it for $599.99, ($479.99 after 20% off coupon). The $335 is still a good price, but more like 30% off, not 67%.

Realize There’s Often a Reason for a Price. Ever look at a Black Friday circular and wonder how any company can stay in business offering things like $2 waffle irons? Many of those rock bottom prices are on items manufacture specifically for the November/December shopping rush. They’re more cheaply made, with fewer features and lesser parts. If that’s what you want, great! But keep in mind it’s not the same item as the one that’s being sold for 10 times as much, and shouldn’t be used when figuring out the base line price.

I suspect the TV we purchased last year falls into this category. It was a very cheap price for the time (sub $400 for a 50 inch) and only came on the market June that year. The price never really rose to the level that you’d expect of TVs for that size. That’s okay for us. It’s our first flat screen TV and we’re unlikely to notice if it has sub par picture capabilities. Anything beats our old rear projection TV, even a cheaply made TV with fewer HDMI ports.

Remember, it’s not the % off that matters. It’s the price you’re paying (including shipping) to get the features you want.

Identify Multiple Alternatives One strategy retailers will use is to try and get you emotionally invested in the particular item they are selling. Last time I went to a car dealership the dealer kept using possessive pronouns. Let’s go pick out YOUR car, how about you drive YOUR car to the front lot? (emphasis mine.) If I start thinking of one particular car as ‘mine’ I’m likely to agree to pay a little more for it when we negotiate the price, or agree to extras/accessories I wouldn’t otherwise get. If I remember that there are multiple dealers with multiple cars of the same make, model and color, I’m more likely to remain objective.

It’s best to find several similar products that fit the bill. When that’s not practical, look for several retailers with comparable prices on an item. If you find yourself fixating on one particular deal ask yourself is it the item you really want, or the deal.

November 5, 2013

Upgrades Abound

Disclosure: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission with each affiliate link click. For more details please see my full disclosure about blog profit.

I love this month. I love the whole holiday season, but November and December have got to be some of my favorite times of the year. Now that we’ve actually moved and the stress of finding a place is gone, it feels like the timing of graduation was perfect. Being able to get everything we need for the home at great holiday steal prices is a wonderful treat, but it get’s better. We’ve also made it my graduation present to upgrade some of our household items. (Have I mentioned I love to bargain hunt?) That means extra shopping this season. As such our Black Friday list is growing.

The Big Deals Thus Far

A Canvas Print – It’s time for a big family photo in the living room, afterall we can never have too many photos with Nicki! I was after another canvas print. Remember how I beat myself up about missing out on that last good canvas print deal? Not this time! I waited for the cafepress deal came around again and this time I pounced! I got it for about half (51%) of what I paid for the canvas print of Nicki as a newborn. The only trouble is I’m not sure any of my current photos work, but I have until the end of the year to pick a photo.

New Pots and Pans – I love the set of pots and pans we got for our wedding (Calphalon Contemporary) but I made the mistake of registering for the non-dishwasher safe ones*. We didn’t realize that at first, thus voiding the warranty. It was our first good set of dishes, and we loved the non stick coating and how evenly they heated. The trouble is washing them by hand takes up so much time – a precious resource these days – and, well, they were damaged from us not knowing how to care for them. We’ve been talking about getting the dishwasher safe kind (Calphalon Unison) someday when our current set wears completely out.

Someday is today. I was looking for a 1 qt pan for Thanksgiving on amazon.com and happened to notice that the Unison set was 39% off! That’s the lowest price ever on amazon. But it get’s better. Amazon’s also in the middle of their holiday sales, and are offering it at an additional 15% off. That makes for a total of 48% off! They’re sold out, but the deal price is still live and I don’t mind waiting. Backorder it is!

* The new contemporary line is reportedly dishwasher safe now. I stumbled upon this fact in the process of writing this blog post and after I made our purchase, otherwise I would have considered just buying the same pots. Our current pots are most definitely not dishwasher safe.

Deals I’m on the Hunt For

A New Computer – No exaggeration my desktop is seven and a half years old. My laptop is a lot younger, but has been on it’s last legs since I got it and nearly kicked the bucket the day of my defense. The laptop was a serious disappointment. I need a new computer stat! The dream setup is a new server with raided hard drive (gotta protect those baby photos!) that can also serve as a media center and a new laptop so I can continue to work lounging on the couch.

New Tools – Specifically I want a pair of really good screw drivers. Maybe just two philips head and two standard head. I’m not sure what qualifies ‘really good’ but I know we don’t have it. In assembling the furniture this past weekend I used not one, not two, but three screwdrivers. The tread had warn down on all three of them, and I was constantly switching back and forth between them trying to find one that could grip the screw. I got everything assembled, but not before giving myself a blister. While I hope there isn’t much furniture assembly again in my immediate future, I’m sure I’ll need a screwdriver eventually. The trouble is, since I don’t know what makes a good screw driver, I can’t really tell what’s a good deal.

Tools make a great stocking stuffer and Christmas list fodder for me. I love gadgets, especially useful ones! A few years ago my aunt gave me a handy screw driver magnetizer. I also love my Mini Screwdriver Set which is all the more useful for changing batteries in kids’ toys. I’m thinking of asking Domingo for a right angle screw driver to help with those hard to get at screws since he’s insisting we do stockings this year.

Nicki’s Play Kitchen or maybe A Play House – Someone is getting spoiled by Santa this year. Toys R Us has a great Black Friday deal on the Step 2 LifeStyle Dream Kitchen ($75!) as well as the Neat & Tidy Cottage ($100!) which I’m hoping that amazon matches because shopping from the couch is so much nicer than going to the store these days! I suspect these will be amazon lightening deals. I think that’s usually how they price match door busters. My plan is to stalk the various kitchens and play houses online and see which deal (if any) I can snag.

Domingo’s New Cell Phone – If Domingo upgraded his cell phone when he was eligible, he would be eligible again, his phone is that old. It’s also incredibly unreliable, and dies often in the middle of phone calls. You can guess how much fun that was organizing the move. The one he wants is advertised as free on Black Friday! Can’t get better than that!

November 25, 2012

Black Friday 2012 Recap

Disclosure: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission with each affiliate link click. For more details please see my full disclosure about blog profit.

Well, Black Friday has come and gone, and, as predicted, I did all my shopping online. The only thing I bought in person was a haircut.

TV

We finally got a new TV like we had been talking about for years. We’ve been thinking about moving into a bigger house when I finish gradschool, and I didn’t want to have to deal with moving the old rear projection behemoth that probably weighs more than me. Yet, we have no way of knowing what sized living room we’ll have in the new house, though. We also know so little of flat panel TVs that I don’t know what features are must haves and what are market hype. So we’re starting with the cheapest one we could find – a starter TV, if you will. I followed @bestbuy_deals on twitter and the new TV was their deal of the day.

It’s hard to say how good the deal was. The price went up between $30-70 after the deal of the day ended (gotta love those price fluctuations). CamelBuy seems to think it’s a good deal. It does include free shipping and take away of the old TV. I estimated that would have cost us $70-$100, so that’s definitely something.

Sonicare Toothbrush

I blew this one. Everyone and their mother seemed to offer a discounted Sonicare Toothbrush and my old one needed to be replaced. I decided to wait it out and see if there would be a lightening deal, or a price matching price drop occur. Only I didn’t think to use camelcamelcamel to alert me to the price! I know I said I was going to, and I did for other products, but didn’t think to do it for the sonicare. It wasn’t until a friend mentioned being alerted on a price drop for a DSLR for his wife that it occurred to me to check camelcamelcamel. Sure enough, there was a temporary $5 price drop that I had missed. Drat. So I bought it at the advertised black Friday price.

Jumperoo

I confess, this one was going to be an in store purchase. I noticed Target was selling Jumperoos at a discount in their pre Black Friday sale, and I assumed the price would continue into the weekend. Since I wasn’t sure which one I wanted, I thought I would take a few days to think about it. Come Friday I discovered that the sale had ended. Luckily, Amazon was still price matching the earlier deal. It’s already shipped, and although I did not pay extra for expedited shopping, it will be here in one day. Score!

Memory Card

I needed given the insane number of photos I take of Nicki. In fact, it was the purchase I was most adamant about. I found BestBuy was offering the best deal, and I hovered around the website starting at 9pm on Wednesday (technically Thanksgiving day on the east coast.) At around 10pm the deal went life, and I snatched it up! Of course, the memory card was available all weekend, but I didn’t want to take that chance.

Overall

Online shopping was definitely a win. It was really nice to not have to worry about crowds or fighting for parking spaces, especially the baby, and there were plenty of good deals available online.

We also cut down greatly on impulse deals. (“Impulse deals” is a bit of an oxymoron, no matter what the deal price, it’s still higher than what you were planning on spending anything!) The only things we got that weren’t on my list were 2 CDs (one of which I’m currently listening to) and an HDMI cable (needed for the new TV).

Estimated total savings ~ 30%. Not bad, but I’ve done better.

It’s a good thing I decided to test our online strategy early. Monitoring tweets with tweet alarm just isn’t going to work, at least not how I originally set it up.

The first problem is that I’m getting alerts for tweets like “Fry’s Black Friday 2011 Ads Finally Revealed”. Yes, that’s a recent tweet from today! Most likely it isn’t a legitimate account. I’d link to it, but the shortened link in the tweet is most likely a virus. It made me realize that tweet monitoring may be bad advice. If you decide to use tweet monitoring, be careful not to click on links from accounts you don’t recognize. The second problem is that I’m getting too many tweets. I can’t find the legitimate ones mixed in with the illegitimate ones.

I’m not giving up on social media for Black Friday. In the past I’ve used the websites Black Friday Ads and BlackFriday Info, both of which have twitter accounts (@BFAds and @blackfridayinfo, respectively). It may take me longer to get notifications of good deals, but at least I can trust the information.

It’s starting already. Apple and Amazon are kicking off the shopping season with the rumored announcement of the iPhone 5 expected this week and last week’s Kindles announcement. Even though I won’t be pregnant this time around, we still plan on focusing our shopping efforts online. I really don’t relish the idea of taking a sub five month old out during some of the busy shopping days of the year, in the middle of flu season! As such, it’s time to update our Back Friday strategy with the times.

We’re developing our strategy primarily to catch surprise deals – those we won’t know about in advance. Since we expect the deals to start prior to Black Friday, and continue well into Cyber Monday (which is more like Cyber Week…) we also want to make sure we don’t buy too early if someone else is going to have a better deal.

Price Watching
Dynamic Pricing is becoming increasingly common. It’s been speculated that retailers like Walmart and Amazon will rely on dynamic pricing this holiday season to undercut the competition. In order to capitalize on these price fluctuations, we plan to set up price watches.

We intend to utilize Camelcamelcamel (Amazon price watches), and it’s companion websites CamelBuy (BestBuy price watches) and CamelEgg (NewEgg price watches). Last year, many of the big chains had great deals in the days and weeks leading up to Black Friday for items like video games, books, music, toys, and electronics. They even had price drops for big ticket items as well like TVs and gaming consoles. Sometimes these price drops were advertised in advance, but not always. Price watching alerts you to sales as they happen, giving you the best chance possible to grab items as they go on sale before they’re sold out.

I have adjusted all my price watches on down significantly (I never buy during the black Friday season unless it’s an amazing deal!). Currently on my price watch? Memory Cards for the camera, and baby toys & books.

Price watching, however, can only get you so far. Bundles were common last year, and I suspect they will be again. Rather than drop the price of, say, an Xbox 360, retailers will bundle it with several games or with gift cards. Bundles are popular when manufactures control the price of products so retailers can’t discount them. Apple is a prime example. Many of these bundles will be announced for Black Friday, but some are surprises and will happen in the weeks and days leading up to it. Since bundles appear as new product listings, automated price watching won’t work.

Social Media
When we were gearing up for our baby, I set up Google alerts in the hopes of catching sales from online stores too small to have dedicated price alert websites. I’d set an alert with the name of the product I was interested in, and the phrase ‘(Discount OR Sale)’. The strategy didn’t work for me. Turns out Google alerts were not real time enough. For this shopping season, I’m turning to twitter and social media. Nothing is more real time than twitter.

I’ve already friended companies in Facebook and follow them on Twitter already to watch for coupons. For the holiday season I plan to use saved searches, and set up an account with tweetalarm.com. Once those deals are live, you can bet some happy consumer will take to twitter to share the joy of their new purchase. Since I’m new to twitter, I’m testing both services out now. What am I searching for now? #Blackfriday! I want to catch any other good strategy ideas in time to use them.

December 28, 2011

Black Friday Blunder

No, I’m not talking about our blunder (although I’m not loving the sheet set as much as I thought I would. I think there’s a chemical on them that I’m extra sensitive to due to pregnancy.) I’m talking about the retailer’s blunder.

It seems we weren’t the only ones who stayed mostly in this black Friday. Online sales were on the raise, especially on Thanksgiving itself. Cyber Monday sales are up too. This is a trend I like to see, as next year I doubt we’ll be spending much time our shopping with such a small infant.

The increase to online sales came with a few glitches. BestBuy, in particular, couldn’t handle the increase demand and accepted more transactions than they couldn’t deliver on. They had to cancel some orders at the last minute. Maybe that’s why the camcorder wasn’t selling out. Maybe in my web browser it appeared available when it really wasn’t.

But BestBuy isn’t the only one. The record traffic was difficult for Walmart and Target to handle. In fairness, Target’s troubles started before black friday.

It’s good news if you’re a web developer. Particularly if you’re expertise is in cloud computing or scaling. Since online sales are up so much, you can bet major retailers will be pulling out all the stops to make sure their ready for next year! I also read (although I can’t find the source) that there will be a push to support more mobile devices, including the iPad. I am looking forward to Black Friday from the comfort of my couch!

November 25, 2011

Black Friday 2011 Recap

Disclosure: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission with each affiliate link click. For more details please see my full disclosure about blog profit.

As predicted, Black Friday was largely a bust for us. We did snag a couple of good deals – new sheets, that dust buster (although not as cool as the Dyson Hand Vac), a Christmas present or two. According to the receipts it’s an average savings of 56% (of course that’s an over estimate.)

No TV. I just wasn’t blown away by any of the deals, and the lack luster deals just didn’t motivate me to spend any money. There will be more sales in anticipation of the Super bowl, so maybe then we’ll take the plunge. I had very low energy today (I’ve been a little under the weather) which prevented us from going out most of the day, which lead us to an interesting discovery.

One of the things I was interested in was a camcorder. I love my camera, but wanted to also be able to take video. Both Amazon and BestBuy had the Sony HD Camcorder for the same sale online. While Amazon’s had free shipping, BestBuy had in store pickup. The only other difference between the two is the color, BestBuy’s version is dark blue were Amazon’s camcorder is black. Amazon’s deal was available as a lightening deal this evening, and sold out immediately. In fact, it looked like it was gone as soon as it became available!) BestBuy’s deal was available all day and still is according to their website.

While I can believe color would matter (I prefer black to dark blue myself) and shipping is more convenient than in store pick up, it’s hard for me to imagine the Amazon deal being that much more preferred than the BestBuy one! Or that someone who missed out on the Amazon deal wouldn’t settle for the BestBuy one. The only two explanations I can think of is that maybe it’s a matter of inventory or consumer reach. If Amazon’s stock was dwarfed by BestBuy’s, maybe everyone who wanted a camcorder got one, and BestBuy still has some extras. On the other hand, maybe some consumers don’t know about the BestBuy deal, or live too far away from a BestBuy to pick one up. Still, it seems odd to me that Amazon’s deal would be gone in seconds, when BestBuy’s deal has been available all day.

Regardless, shopping at home was easy and convenient. It was also fun with the dual laptop’s going (me on mine, D on his) trying to score those lightening deals. I am sure we will continue to do more black Friday shopping from the comfort of our couch in the years to come.

I will be interested when the final Black Friday are published, that’s for sure!

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