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 decreased inventory due to shipping delays. Here are some tips and tricks to help you make the most out of the biggest shopping day and score the best Black Friday deals.
When Is Black Friday?
Black Friday this year officially starts November 26, the day after Thanksgiving. However, most retailers have already kicked off their deals weeks ago, and many of those sales will continue until the end of Cyber Monday on November 29.
What Time Do Stores Open on Black Friday?
Most stores will be closed this Thanksgiving, including Walmart, Target, and Best Buy. Many of those stores will open earlier than usual the next morning, but hours may vary based on location.
Apple Store: Store hours vary by location, with many locations opening at 8:00 AM.
Best Buy: Store hours vary, but many locations will open as early as 5:00 AM.
As retailers continue to deal with the pandemic, many stores will require you to follow safety protocols this Black Friday. You may need to wear a mask when indoors or show proof of vaccination. However, this depends on the store’s policy and your state and local COVID-19 mandates.
If you are adamant about shopping physically, you can make use of new features like Target’s online reservation system, which allows you to see how long the lines are at your local store and reserve a spot from your phone. Most retailers have also expanded their in-store and curbside pick-up to decrease the number of people in their stores.
Black Friday Tips to Get the Best Deals
Start Shopping Early, Like Now
While Black Friday normally offers the best savings, you might want to start shopping early this year. Otherwise, the items on your wish list might sell out. If you plan to shop online, you should also anticipate long shipping delays this Black Friday, especially for electronic devices.
For example, if you try to order a new MacBook Pro right now, it might not be delivered until February. So, if you see a good deal, you might not want to wait for it to be a better deal because it probably won’t come anyway.
Like last year, most retailers are not looking to attract large crowds this Black Friday. So, many of them are offering all the same deals and “doorbusters” to customers that shop online and the ones that spend the night camping out in front of the store.
In the wake of the pandemic, retailers are also offering other perks to online shoppers, like free shipping and first dibs on deals. For example, Walmart opened its Black Friday deals to online shoppers on November 22, but those same deals won’t be available in store until November 26.
Sign Up for Newsletters to Get Sale Alerts
Most retailers and companies have newsletters that you can sign up for. Once you do, they will start sending you emails about new deals. They even send out exclusive deals to subscribers or potential customers.
If you ever get tired of receiving these emails, you can always stop them by clicking the Unsubscribe link, which you can usually find at the top or bottom of any email. Or you can create a secondary email address so your inbox doesn’t get flooded with spam.
The Better Business Bureau recently warned shoppers to watch out for savings that seem too good to be true, saying “the item may be ‘75% off,’ but the original price could be inflated.” Thankfully, there are lots of tools that can help you compare deals, see the price history of items, and get alerts when items go on sale.
CamelCamelCamel: This free browser extension allows you to track the price of items on Amazon. This way, you can see when a retailer increases the price of an item and then puts it on sale to make the discount look bigger.
Honey: This is another free browser extension that lets you track the price history of items, but it works with a lot more sites than CamelCamelCamel. Plus, Honey will also show you if there’s a better deal at another store and automatically apply coupons during the checkout process.
Pricepulse: If you’re on your smartphone, you can’t use these browser extensions, but you can see the price history of any item on Amazon with the Pricepulse app. This app will even send you notifications when items in your Amazon wish list drop below a certain price.
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 amount.
How to Use Filters to Find the Best Deals on Amazon
To find the biggest deals on Amazon, you can go to the deals page and tap the Sort By button in the top-right corner. Then select Discount: High to Low. This will move all items with the biggest discounts to the top of the list.
However, you might have to scroll past a lot of books and magazine subscriptions to find what you’re looking for. So, you can narrow your search even more by selecting a category from the “Departments” in the left sidebar.
If you are using the Amazon mobile app, you can find deals by searching for the type of item you are looking for and then tapping “Filter” in the top-right corner of your screen. Next, scroll down and tap “Today’s Deals.” This will filter out any items that are not on sale and only show you deals that apply to your search term.
Send Gifts Directly to Loved Ones
Many retailers now make it easy to send items directly to another person’s address. This way, you can be confident that your gifts will arrive on time. Amazon, Walmart, Target, and other retailers all let you mark an item as a gift during checkout, and then you can choose to hide the price, add a note, and have it gift wrapped.
Amazon also added a new feature that lets you send gifts to close acquaintances, even if you don’t have their address. The recipient can then choose whether to accept the gift or exchange it for an Amazon gift card of the same value.
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 have 30 days to return most items after they are shipped. But, this holiday season, items shipped from October 1 to December 31 can be returned for free until January 31, 2022.
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 1 and December 25, you can return it by January 8, 2022.
Best Buy: You can return most items 14 days after purchase. However, if you purchase an item between October 18 and January 2, the return window has been extended to January 16, 2022.
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 or within 30 days to get an identical exchange.
Staples: You have 14 days to return furniture or technology items. However, the return window for items purchased from November 8 to December 24 has been extended to January 24, 2022.
Target: You have 90 days to return most unopened merchandise, but only 30 days for electronics and 15 days for Apple products. However, the return window for electronics purchased between October 1 and December 25 has been extended to January 24, 2022, and January 9, 2022, 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 November 1 to December 25 has been extended to January 25, 2022.