CLEVELAND — The whole concept of Black Friday can be intimidating to some.
This year, about 150 million people are expected to line up for those rock-bottom prices, but how can you be guaranteed the best deal?
Here are five tips to surviving the task of Black Friday shopping:
1. ARRIVE EARLY
Typically, the earlier you arrive, the better chance you have of snagging a doorbuster. Many local stores are opening their doors on Thursday night and expect big crowds.
“A big frustration for Black Friday shoppers is to get to the front of the line and find that their item is gone,” said Molly Philhours of Walmart. “This year, we`re eliminating that problem.”
Walmart is initiating a new one-hour guarantee for three items in the store. As long as shoppers are in line from 10 to 11 p.m. Thursday night, they can purchase a 16GB Apple iPad for $399, plus a Walmart gift card; an Emerson 32-inch LCD TV for $148; or an LG Blu-ray Player for $38.
Philhours said customers are guaranteed to have the item by Christmas.
2. COMPARE PRICES ONLINE
Cell phone applications add a bit of convenience for price comparison. For example, Redlaser is an app you can use to scan an item. All you do is take a picture of a bar code, then information is input into your phone. The app searches for prices of that exact item on the Internet.
Now, some stores will match online prices, so this application may be handy for shoppers.
3. DOWNLOAD CELL PHONE APPS
A number of other cell phone applications store Black Friday sales information, but retailers often have their sales circulars available on your mobile device. Some, like Walmart, have maps of the store layout, so you know exactly where to find your item.
Using these apps may be a nice alternative to carrying several paper ads. But, you don’t want to charge your phone before you head out for the day.
4. USE COUPONS
Some cell phone apps like Foursquare give people exclusive coupons to those who “check-in” to various retailers. Loyal Facebook and Twitter followers may also be able to score deals.
If you’re shopping online, consider websites like Freeshipping.com, which will give you coupon codes information for free shipping. Retailmenot.com is also a popular website that provides online coupons, including special discounts and freebies.
5. USE A COMPETITOR’S AD
Many stores allow you to price match, as long as you bring a competitor’s ad. New this year, Target is allowing shoppers to price match sales they find online. Best Buy will also price match with major online retailers. And, if you can’t find a great deal, stores like Walmart and K-Mart will let you lock in prices with their layaway programs.
Black Friday shopping can be a daunting task to some, but many retailers say it’s best to plan ahead. With a few of these quick tips, you may be able to score some great deals when hitting the stores.