Hunting for a bargain? Here are 9 ways to make the most of this Black Friday

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Shop smart this Black Friday
Shop smart this Black Friday
Mark Kerrison

It's finally here. Excited shoppers have been combing through catalogs, online stores and marking off the bargains they wanted to take home. 

And because they didn't get much of a chance to shop last year due to lockdown, some are going for broke this Black Friday. 

But there are ways you can not only make it a safer experience, but a money saver. 

"Shoppers should be on the lookout for overstated discounts and should make sure the store offers returns on Black Friday deal items," says Orlando Luis, CEO of Brights Hardware.

Read more | Shop smart: 5 top tips to help you save and avoid overspending on Black Friday

Luis provides some top Black Friday shopping tips that will hopefully assist you to find the best offers and keep impatience levels to a minimum:

1. Skip the in-store sales and shop online

“You can skip the crowds and the queues and be “in-line” for your chosen deals as soon as they become available,” says Luis. Plus, many retailers will be offering free delivery offers and speedy delivery services for online sales.

2. Start early

Starting to shop early is a good strategy, not only because deals are kicking off earlier, but also because hot products sell out quickly. One tip is to add items to your shopping cart before the day so that you can find them again quickly and be all set to check out. Putting an item in your cart doesn’t reserve it, though—you need to place your order and get a confirmation that it has been received.

3. Use websites and apps to check pricing

“To judge how good the deals really are you need to track prices leading up to Black Friday. The easiest way to do this is compare the prices of retailers with an online presence or a shopping app,” says Luis.

While there will likely be some significant deals this year for Black Friday, Luis advises shoppers to keep an eye on pricing in the lead up to Black Friday to avoid being caught out with a “Black Friday Deal” that was close to the standard selling price. “Some retailers use this as a tactic to inflate the ‘savings’ you get on your items, when in fact you are getting a pretty standard deal, to push impulse buying.”

4. Make sure any websites you shop on are legit

“If shopping online this Black Friday, make sure the retailer is reputable and trustworthy,” says Luis. 

“There are a few ways to do this, such as verifying the websites trust seal; checking that there is a padlock to the left of the HTTPS; checking the contact page (a good way to tell if a website is legit is to verify whether the website has a physical address and if the company has a phone number listed and an email ID); check whether the company has a social media presence; look for spelling and grammatical errors in any communications from the company; use the Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report (a tool which allows you to enter a URL to check whether it hosts any malware or if the site is safe for browsing); pay close attention to the URL; check for a website privacy policy; and know the obvious signs of website malware.”

5. Use loyalty programs

Luis advises that store loyalty programs often grant members early access to sales, and promotions, and lets them earn rewards on what they buy. “In some cases, you can even find out whether the products you want are in stock or eligible to buy online and pick up at a store, which can save you money on shipping.”

6. Get social

The Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds of your favourite retailers are a great way to find out about exclusive deals and promotions.

7. Create a budget—and stick to it

“Black Friday deals are designed to get you to buy items that you often aren’t intending to buy. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and overspend,” warns Luis. “Decide ahead of time how much you want to your Black Friday shopping spree to cost and do your best to resist impulse buying.”

8. Beware of the cheapest brands

Super low-priced specials draw people in with visions of savings, but the items — often from lesser-known brands— are not always worth the price.

It is always worth remembering that well-known quality brands may sell for more, but your item is likely to last far longer than a cheaper derivative.

9. Store returns and policies

“It’s always good to know a store’s return policies before making your Black Friday purchases,” says Luis. “All goods carry a six-month Consumer Protection Act (CPA) implied warranty. This means that if an item shows a defect within six months of purchasing a shopper can return them and elect to have the item replaced, refunded, or repaired. BUT the defect has to be a material defect and the goods should not have been tampered with or damaged by the consumer.

“It is therefore important to follow manufacturer instructions in handling and installing the goods,” advises Luis.

He advices the customers make sure they understand supplier’s return policy because unless the goods are defective, you can only return if the store has a return policy regarding change of mind returns.

“You will therefore only be allowed to return the goods if the store has a return policy and only within the terms and condition of that specific return policy. If goods are not defective a supplier can include provisions that stipulate the rules of return.”

These provisions may limit returns for example:

  • Must be in its original packaging and unused;
  • Must return the goods with a till slip;
  • Must return the goods within a specified time period.

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