Richmond Times-Dispatch

Strategize to successful­ly conquer Black Friday sales fromyour couch

- BY COURTNEY JESPERSEN

‘Twas the day before Black Friday when all around the country, shoppers were gearing up for a day full of shopping.

OK, so maybe you haven’t exactly been gearing up for the day after Thanksgivi­ng. Maybe you haven’t done any research at all.

No need to worry; we’ve broken down everything you need to do between now and Black Friday to snag the biggest savings — with the least amount of effort.

Here’s your last-minute Black Friday guide.

Search newspaper ads and the web for sales: Thursday’s newspaper is full of sale ads.

Also, you’ve probably been getting emails about Black Friday sales since October. Believe it or not, those were the early sales. The actual Black Friday event will take place on Friday, and, yes, more deals are coming.

Retailers are in “fierce competitio­n” for sales given the pandemic’s rippling effects of unemployme­nt and lower disposable income, according to Simone Peinkofer, assistant professor of supply chain management at Michigan State University.

Most retailers have already announced their planned Thanksgivi­ng Day and Black Friday discounts. Go directly to a store’s website or do an online search for the store’s name plus the words “Black Friday” to preview the deals. Some deal sites sift through the ads and pull out the biggest discounts for you.

Go online— or hold a spot in line:

After you zero in on what you want, decide how you’ll get it. This year, there’s more than one way to shop on Black Friday: online, at the store or a hybrid of both.

“There will hopefully be no crowds, no stampedes, and no long lines,” said Vicki Morwitz, the Bruce Greenwald Professor of Business at Columbia Business School, in an email.

Retailers are making it easy to avoid the traditiona­l physical store experience. You can shop online for home delivery or curbside pickup. If you do choose to go to a store, Target will even let you save a spot in line.

Morwitz says stores will probably look different this year as they carry fewer product categories to free up space. The products are changing, too. For example, as business attire gives way to athleisure, retailers may shift allocation­s to reflect demand.

Save a little extra: Make it your goal to pay the least amount possible for your Black Friday purchases.

Discounts will likely be deep this year because, as Morwitz points out, retailers are counting on a successful holiday selling season, especially after many stores have suffered during the COVID-19 crisis. But that doesn’t mean you should pay the first price you see. Compare prices across stores.

For added savings, search for coupons and use cash back, recommends Tiara Rea-Palmer, head of partnershi­ps at CouponFoll­ow, a coupon website.

Make a list of the things you know you’ll definitely buy.

Then, prepare to buy any items that you think will be in high demand or at risk of selling out.

Rea-Palmer says the online equivalent to lining up at a store is to “put these items in your shopping cart beforehand so that you’re ready to purchase them when they go on sale.”

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