Black Friday Tips for Scoring the Best Deals in 2020
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, you can expect Black Friday to be a little different this year. While many stores will open at the same time this Black Friday, there won’t be as many doorbusters, and there will be limited capacity and other restrictions. Plus, retailers will be offering the same deals online and in-store, and there will be less inventory and possible shipping delays. Here are tips and tricks to help you make the most out of the biggest shopping day and score the best Black Friday deals.
When Does Black Friday Start?
Black Friday officially starts on November 27, the day after Thanksgiving. However, this year, retailers are extending deals from the first few weeks of November until Cyber Monday and beyond. This means you don’t have to wait until Black Friday to start your holiday shopping.
What Time Do Stores Open on Black Friday?
This year, many stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. However, many retailers will open on Black Friday as early as 5 AM and close as late as 11 PM. Some store hours will vary by location, so be sure to check the operating hours for the store you want to visit.
Since most retailers are offering the same deals in-store and online, there isn’t much reason to go inside a crowded store during a pandemic. However, if you insist on visiting a store this Black Friday, it is important to know that you will be expected to take additional precautions this year.
Most stores will require you to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Also, many retailers will limit the number of customers allowed inside the store at a time. Plus, there will also be new limits on how many items you can buy for certain in-demand products.
To help with social distancing, some stores have implemented contactless payment options. For example, Target has equipped employees with 1,000 more MyCheckout devices this year that allow you to buy your items from anywhere in the store. You can also use the Target app to pay for your items contact-free at the register.
Target also launched an online line reservation system, which allows you to see if there’s a line at your local store and lets you reserve a spot in the line. Many stores will also be offering masks to guests who don’t have one when they enter the store.
Black Friday Tips
This year, most retailers are skipping out the usual in-store doorbusters that attract large crowds. Instead, most “doorbusters” will be online-only, and you’ll be able to find most of the same exact deals online and in-store.
In fact, most of the deals that you can only find in-store this year will be for low-priced items, which means you won’t really save that much by shopping in-store. Plus, shopping online allows you to take advantage of the price adjustment feature that many stores have implemented this year. That means you could receive a discount if an item you bought goes on sale shortly after you purchase it.
To further incentivize you to shop online, retailers like Target and Best Buy are offering free next-day or two-day shipping on all items. So, you can shop online, in your pajamas at home, and you’ll get the exact same deals as you would by going into a crowded store.
Start Shopping for Black Friday Deals Early
Due to the pandemic, retailer’s inventories are lighter this year, and shipping capacity is overburdened. So, if you spot a good deal online before Black Friday officially starts, you might want to grab it before it’s gone.
To avoid overcrowding, retailers have been adding new deals almost every week online. So, this Black Friday will be a month-long event instead of just a one-day event. That means you can start shopping for deals way before Black Friday, and you will have a better chance of the item you want being in stock and delivered on time.
Best Buy says that “inventory and delivery wait times might be unpredictable these days,” so the company suggests that you have your gifts shipped directly to your loved ones from their website. You can also arrange for gifts to be sent to another store location that offers curbside pickup.
If you want to send a package yourself and have it delivered by Christmas Day, the USPS recommends that you ship it as early as December 9. You can find a full list of holiday shipping deadlines on the USPS website here.
Use Curbside Pickup
If you don’t want to wait for your packages to be delivered in the mail, the next-best option is to use curbside pickup. In fact, some retailers will even offer discounts and other incentives if you are willing to shop online and pick up your items at the store.
Target and Best Buy both claim that they will have your contactless pickup order ready within an hour and bring it to your car for free. However, there might be long lines for pickup orders on Black Friday, so another tip is to bring a book or have a podcast ready if you plan on using curbside pickup this year.
Be Prepared to Check for Deals More Often
Since many retailers are staggering deals over weeks and even months, you might have to check for deals more often than usual. For example, Walmart announced three different Black Friday “Deals for Day” events, with different dates for different sales.
Walmart started listing Black Friday deals on November 4 for toys, electronics, and home products. Then the retailer started its second event on November 11 for electronics, like TVs, computers, tablets, and more. Finally, Walmart will start its final event on November 25 for electronics, toys, and gifts across several departments.
On the other hand, Target and Best Buy will offer Black Friday deals all month and all season long.
Make a List (and Check It Twice)
To get the best deals this Black Friday, you should consider making a list before you start shopping. Check out ad scans online so you know how much the price has dropped for an item you’re eyeing.
Another Black Friday tip is to have alternative options in case the item you want is not available. By making a list and sticking to it, you avoid being lured into buying things you don’t need. If you plan on shopping at a store, creating a list will also help you move in and out quickly and limit the time you spend in a crowded store.
Do Your Research
There are lots of resources out there that help you get the best Black Friday deals. With tools like Google Shopping, CamelCamelCamel, and SlickDeals, you can compare prices, see the price history, track prices, and more.
Google Shopping: This website allows you to compare prices, delivery fees, taxes, and customer ratings of products from different retailers. You can also create a list of products and enable price tracking to get notifications when the price drops below a certain level.
CamelCamelCamel: This free Amazon price tracker lets you see price drops and monitor the price history of items. Since some retailers increase the price of certain items just before Black Friday to makes the sale look better, this tool will help you know if you’re getting the best deals possible. Plus, there’s also a Google Chrome browser extension called The Camelizer, which shows you Amazon prices right from your browser.
SlickDeals: SlickDeals is a price aggregator site where members can share and vote on the best deals. It allows you to set up deal alerts for your favorite stores, categories, or products. Plus, you can search for the top coupons from different retailers and find promo codes that will help you save even more.
Keep Up with Brands and Retailers Online
You can get alerts, announcements, and other updates from your favorite brands and retailers by following them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Most retailers will also reward their most loyal followers with coupon codes and other exclusive deals.
Another Black Friday tip is to monitor the websites or the landing page of a product you’re eyeing. Save the website or web page as a bookmark on your browser to access them quickly.
Sign Up for Newsletters
You can be the first to know about Black Friday deals by signing up for newsletters from retailers or brands. This Black Friday tip will also give you access to pre-sale events, special discounts, and other offers.
If you don’t want your email inbox flooded with newsletters, you can also use a separate email address for marketing emails. To find out how to stop spam emails from clogging up your inbox, check out our guide here.
Learn the Store Policies
Different retailers have different return policies and conditions for returns. However, if the item is marked “final sale,” you probably won’t be able to return it if you change your mind. Make sure you read the fine print before adding an item to your cart.
Here are some of the return policies for major retailers:
Amazon: You can return an item 30 days after it is shipped. Most items shipped from October 1 to December 31, 2020, can be returned for free until January 31, 2021.
Apple: You have14 calendar days to return an item after you purchase it in-store. If you purchase an item from the Apple Online Store and receive it between November 10 and December 25, you can return it by January 8, 2021.
Best Buy: You can return most items 14 days after purchase. However, if you purchase an item between October 13 and January 2, the return window has been extended through January 16 for most items.
Costco: You have 90 days from the date you receive an item to return select electronics and appliances
GameStop: You can return an item within 7 days for a full refund or30 days to exchange an item.
Staples: You have 14 days to return furniture or technology items. However, Staples the return window for items purchased from November 15 to December 24 has been extended to January 25, 2021.
Target: You have 90 days to return for most unopened merchandise, but only 30 days for electronics 15 days for Apple products. However, the return window for items purchased between October 1 and December 25 has been extended to January 25 for electronics and January 10, 2021, for Apple products.
Walmart: You have 90 days to return most items except wireless phones, which need to be returned within 14 days. However, the return window for items purchased between October 16 to December 15 has been extended to January 25, 2021.