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How to Shop on Black Friday

Nov. 16, 2015
Black Friday, Shopping
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As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Because Black Friday sales are an opportunity to cash in on some of the biggest savings of the year, you’ll want to plot out where and when to buy. Retailers make it easy with apps and maps and leaked ads, but the trouble you’ll run into will be large crowds and limited merchandise. Here are some tips we’ve collected for the best Black Friday plan of attack:

The list

Perhaps the most basic yet most crucial part of Black Friday preparation is the list. But in order to capitalize on the savings and maximize your time, make sure your list is organized by category and priority. A few things you can’t pass up? Make sure they are at the top of your list, noted by price and store location. You’ll also want to make sure you list similar categories next to one another so you can cross many items off the list at a time from one area of the store.

The map

If you’re a visually inclined person, it will help to put your list right on a store map. Many retailers offer layouts of local locations so you can find your way, pick a route and attempt for smooth maneuvering around the stores. Target’s map shows shoppers the different sections of its stores. If you already know the layout of a store, keep it in mind as you create your route.  

Apart from mapping individual stores, it also will be helpful to create a map of the various stores on your list. Try to find shopping centers that have the stores you want to visit nearby and research them before you go — you may find a retailer close to where you’re headed and saving time could mean saving money.

The app

It hasn’t taken long for retailers to develop Black Friday shopping apps to help customers navigate stores and sales. Apps like Cartwheel by Target, Best Buy’s mobile app and Wal-Mart’s shopping app will help you parse through the sales and locate exactly what you want, while also keeping track of your member points or rewards. Macy’s app helps shoppers find what is on sale and lets them read reviews and order items instantly. Don’t forget to follow retailers on Twitter and Facebook to find other deals that could pop up at the last minute.

The team

The best way to get the most savings is to join with other shoppers. Some groups opt to shop in packs, while others visit various stores separately and meet up afterward. Whether you choose the divide-and-conquer method or go full-team ahead, make sure everyone is clear on which items they are in charge of purchasing and who gets which benefits from awards or membership points. Keep everyone devoted to their tasks — driver, cart pusher, list reader, etc. This will help things move more smoothly.

The uniform

Often overlooked but important for shopping stamina is the clothes and shoes you wear for going into the Black Friday battle. The more comfortable, the better. If you know you will be looking for clothes, be sure to wear easy slip-off shoes and loose-fitting clothing that will make trying items on easy and quick. Keep in mind you will be waiting outside in the elements some of the time, so make sure you dress in appropriate layers for the weather conditions. Also pack snacks like energy bars, water and juice for efficient refueling.   

The line

All Black Friday shoppers will undoubtedly wait in lines, especially at electronics stores such as Best Buy and Fry’s. Keep some games in mind to ease any nerves and pass the time while you wait. Prioritize your spending and head for the big-ticket items first.

The fun

Black Friday doesn’t have to be a drag. The hustle and bustle can create a bonding experience among friends and family and the outings sometimes become a fun holiday tradition. Remember that everyone is there to get in on the savings, so keep smiling — it helps make shopping more pleasant for all.

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