Planning and Patience are Essential for a Successful Black Friday

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the busiest shopping day of the year and the unofficial start to the Christmas shopping season. Most major retailers open very early (and in more recent years, as early as the late afternoon of Thanksgiving) promoting door-busting sales. Because Black Friday is as much known for its frenzied chaos as it is for great deals, now is the time to get prepared for your big shopping spree.

Without a doubt, you want to start early, make a strategic game plan (both in where you will go and what you will buy), and think about how you’ll pay for all the gifts you purchase. These tips will help you get the most out of Black Friday without getting overwhelmed.

Compare online advertisements, and use a Black Friday Deal Tracker to find the best sales on items you want to buy. Sales circulars from your favorite stores are already live, so start going through your lists and find what items you want to buy from which stores. Download store apps to double-check deals, look for promo codes and check for coupons.

Update all your online shopping accounts. Online retailers often experience the digital equivalent to hectic Black Friday crowds through overloaded servers, inaccurate stocking, erroneous deals and more. The best strategy is all about efficiency and good timing and, so take a moment to make sure all your shipping address and billing information is up-to-date, and set up one-click checkout on sites where applicable. You can also prepare your shopping cart ahead of time. Load up your cart, and when the Black Friday deals go live, instead of scrambling, you can simply check out.

Arrive early, smile, and be prepared for long lines. Every year, you’ll see or hear stories of shoppers camping out or getting in line hours early, but sometimes it’s not just about buying a particular item inside. On Thanksgiving and Black Friday, some stores offer great perks to the first shoppers through the door. Long lines will likely continue once you’re in the check-out aisle. Stay caffeinated. Be patient, friendly and positive. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and make sure you’re only carrying the essentials since you’ll soon be weighted down with shopping bags.

Be mindful of store hours and the timing of discounts. Not all deals happen right when the doors open, and some discounts will only run for a certain amount of time (or until the item is gone). When you make your shopping plan, prioritize which stores to hit first, as the most popular items will have a limited supply in-store.

Avoid impulse purchases and beware final sale items. Unplanned bargains can become budget busters, and a gift recipient will appreciate a good return policy, especially on electronics or items that may be the wrong size. Also, make sure to organize your receipts and keep track of all your purchases.

Use only one credit card. Sadly, data breaches are becoming common, and customer data — including credit card info — has been stolen from major retailers, including Target, Home Depot, Michael’s and Neiman Marcus. Data breaches are even more common around the holidays, and if your information were stolen, you can minimize risk and “clean up” by using a single credit card with fraud protection for all your purchases.

Have fun, and have a great shopping experience on Black Friday!


Jocelyn Sexton is a marketing and corporate communications professional with more than 15 years of writing experience. She is a passionate storyteller and has worked in a variety of industries, including a stint in state government where she worked to promote Texas food with the Department of Agriculture. She earned an Executive MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has an undergraduate degree in Journalism-Public Relations from the University of North Texas.

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December 2018
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