Don’t wait for Black Friday to shop


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Traditional Black Friday as we know it is dying.

The chaotic shopping day after Thanksgiving, traditionally known for door buster deals, is increasingly being replaced by more convenient online shopping events. Think Amazon Prime Day, Cyber ​​Monday, and the like.

“I wouldn’t say Black Friday is still dead. There are still some people who still want to get up at 5am to go on a bargain hunt, ”says Jerry Sheldon, a retail analyst with IHL Group, a Franklin, Tennessee-based retail and hospitality consultancy. “But you’re going to have a pretty big slump this year. I think this decline will continue, and we’ll likely see Black Friday dead within four to five years.

Black Friday is already developing into a month-long event known more precisely as Black November, Sheldon says. And he wouldn’t be surprised if the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season gets closer and closer to the day after Halloween.

To be clear, the demise of a traditional Black Friday is not a new concept.

With the rise in online and mobile shopping over the years, retailers have increasingly pushed consumers to start shopping earlier by offering bargains throughout the season rather than making Black Friday the official day to kick off the Christmas shopping season to use.

“For almost a decade, the trend has been less personal and more online. Even with my own family, we went into stores five, six, seven years ago and we don’t do that anymore. We shop online, ”says Tori Dunlap, a millennial money coach and founder of HerFirst100k.com.

The pandemic and the associated increase in online shopping have greatly accelerated this trend in 2020. About 60% of people say they plan to do their Christmas shopping online this year, up four percentage points from 2019, according to the The latest holiday poll from the National Retail Federation.

Between the rise in online shopping, social distancing safety measures, and stores offering more opportunities to save, this is an especially good year to find deals beyond Black Friday.

Vacation offers have already started online

the Christmas shopping season is already in full swing, thanks too The Amazon Prime Day shift from July to October this year because of the pandemic.

Suddenly Prime Day was not all alone in the middle of summer and was fighting for online shoppers. Retail competitors like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and others launched their own online discounts, which became an early start to the Christmas shopping season.

The holiday season seems to be a priority for many: 42% say they plan to start their Christmas shopping by the end of October, and another 41% in November, according to data from the National Retail Federation. Smart customers will shop early, Sheldon says, and those who don’t or can’t do so may not get their packages on time.

FedEx and UPS calculate according to a. with intense shipping delays, an approximate “shortage of up to seven million parcels per day”. latest report from NBC News.

“If you have a system that is working close to its maximum capacity and then you turn the volume up from 20 to 30 percent during the holiday season, there will be problems,” says Sheldon.

But delivery delays are only part of the story. Retailers have had a harder time assessing inventory and demand this year as the pandemic left millions of people jobless and changed people’s attitudes about the Christmas shopping season, Sheldon says.

So if an item that sells out fast is on your wish list like this Nintendo switch or Fitness equipment for the home, don’t wait to buy it.

“We have seen how we as a nation react to a lack of toilet paper, so I would shop sooner. Just try to get it all together before the day before Christmas or Hanukkah, ”says Dunlap.

Don’t expect a lot of doorbusters or in-store deals

Many retailers, such as Target, Kohl’s, and Walmart, have announced that they will be reducing hours compared to previous years to reduce queues and other crowds in the face of COVID-19 concerns. Given these limitations, it is difficult to imagine in-store shopping as we know it on Black Friday.

With retailers looking to reduce the crowd in stores, Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday deals are expected to be mostly online, Sheldon says. In general, he expects online sales to increase up to 30% over the Christmas season, with the increase starting earlier than usual.

With most deals happening online on Black Friday, Dunlap recommends using coupon sites like. to use Rakuten and Coupons.com Shop. “These are places that can offer increased discounts on top of the Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday deals,” says Dunlap.

Small businesses can hold onto Black Friday weekend

While large retailers have already launched many Christmas deals, many small businesses are likely to save their deals for Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday weekends – especially so Small Business Saturday lies between them, according to Dunlap.

So if you want to shop locally, you may need to change your shopping strategy and mindset. Take a look at what small businesses are doing in your community so you are prepared to take advantage of all the opportunities they have to offer.

Expect items to sell out faster at your neighborhood stores and longer to ship for small online stores, especially since there has been a lot more emphasis on buying local products this year, says Dunlap.

“This is a trend we’ve seen over the past few years,” she says, “but I’ve seen a major resurgence in helping local businesses run by blacks and women because of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter Movement, and people avoid the Amazons of the world. ”

Pro tip

When shopping locally, be aware that merchants may need additional time to ship your goods.

Above all, try to be patient with the small businesses you shop from. For many small online businesses, normal shipping times have doubled, according to Dunlap.

“You are now under increased pressure in relation to shipping. They take more time packing goods and shipping has been really unstable everywhere. Give them a little time and grace, ”says Dunlap.

Pay attention to affordable and flexible return policies

Since this Christmas shopping starts early and is likely to drag on for longer, it can be difficult to know when you are getting the best price for what you are about to buy.

A so-called price match guarantee can be useful here.

While this is not a generally accepted practice, some retailers like Walmart, target, and Best buy offer a price guarantee for certain items this season. That is, the dealer will reimburse you for the difference if the price of a product you bought in a certain period of time goes down.

“If you buy early and see a product later, most companies will stick to that retail price. Most of the time you can email or message them so I’m not afraid of buying things online now, ”says Dunlap.

Not every company offers this, and those who do may face some limitations. For example, Walmart and Target will only align prices for selected competitors and online retailers. Just do some research before buying.

But even if a retailer doesn’t offer an explicit price adjustment, it never hurts to request a price adjustment if a product goes on sale soon after it is purchased, says Dunlap.

If the dealer does not move, you also have the option of returning the item and buying it at a lower price. Most major retailers have flexible return policies through mid-2021, Sheldon says.

Don’t feel pressured to shop this holiday season

Deals and promotions this holiday season may be tempting, but you don’t have to spend on gifts if you’re struggling to get through.

In general, more than a third of Americans plan to spend less on Christmas shopping this year, and 66% of shoppers say a. not to top up credit card balances due to their Christmas shopping current NextAdvisor survey.

It’s also important to be careful with funding options like Affirm, Afterpay, and Klarna. These services allow buyers to split purchases into weekly or monthly installments, often without interest, rather than paying for them in full straight away, says Sheldon.

But just because they’re available doesn’t mean you should use them. You don’t want to get into this situation where an expensive Christmas present for your mom throws you into debt.

“If you don’t have the money to buy something that isn’t strictly necessary, you probably shouldn’t buy it,” says Dunlap. “If COVID-19 hits you really hard and you can’t afford gifts, this is a great conversation to have with your friends and family.”

Dunlap says you don’t have to give someone a real gift to show your care; Services are also great Christmas gifts. That could mean making a family dinner or two, or offering to help with household chores during the vacation.

Unless you are financially affected by COVID-19, focus on creating a specific plan and budget for this Christmas shopping season, says Dunlap.

“Having a budget and sticking to it is really important this year,” he warns. “Shop when you have this plan together instead of waiting until the last minute.”


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