Tips for a Smarter Black Friday

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It’s that festive time of year once again. A time for families to gather for Thanksgiving dinner, followed by rich desserts, conversation, watching football and… at least some members of the clan racing away from the table to get in line for Black Friday sales. Ah, tradition.

With some retailers opening Thanksgiving night and others in the wee hours of Friday morning, there is something for everyone—assuming you like cold weather (in many areas), crowds and the stress of worrying if you’ll get in early enough to snag one of those really low-priced flat screen TVs for the family room.

But as you may have noticed, things change rapidly in America these days, and Black Friday is no exception. Like anything that becomes a trend, there are those who may have once participated in Black Friday with glee who now wouldn’t be caught dead camping out to get into a store at the crack of dawn.

For example, recent research from eMarketer indicates that millennials are more likely than older generations in the U.S. to use their smartphones to shop for deals on both Black Friday and its younger retail cousin, Cyber Monday. As retailers try to accommodate this demographic, all generations should take advantage of the information and self-service options at their fingertips to make for an easier and smarter Black Friday.

Do Online Research: There are many apps where you can compare prices, and even Pinterest has price-drop alerts that will monitor items you’ve pinned on certain websites and email you with the price differences when they go on sale.

Pay Attention to Your Loyalty Programs: Stores often have loyalty programs that offer sales and promotions to their members first, then let them earn rewards on what they buy. Sign up for Black Friday shopping alerts about upcoming promotions, coupons and discounts.

Pick it Up: After you’ve researched online, you can buy the item then pick it up in the store. This guarantees the item for you and takes away having to anticipate when it may be shipped to your home.

Schedule an Appointment. As we are now officially in the holiday season, your schedule is likely to fill up with trips, family visits, parties and other obligations. With gift shopping added to the mix, things can get pretty hectic. Take advantage of cutting-edge retailers that use online appointment scheduling software that allows customers to book appointments to ensure they receive a one-on-one shopping experience—at a time that’s convenient for them.

When it comes to Black Friday, the key to have a successful experience is being smarter than other consumers. Hopefully the above tips will help you to have a more efficient and less stressful Black Friday experience, so you can enjoy more of the holiday weekend with family and friends and spend less time in line with strangers.

Image credit: TBO.com

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