The holiday shopping season is about to begin and it’s not just on Black Friday anymore as stores are starting deals as early as Thanksgiving Day. News 2 spoke to a local shopping expert about the top five ways to get the most out of your Black Friday shopping.
One Lowcountry shopper, Elly Craver, says, “There are some really good deals some years, and for things I actually need.”
And step one of taking advantage of those deals: do your research beforehand.
Citadel Mall’s Belk Store Manager, Susan McWatters, says, “They actually have their Thanksgiving books in their hands now, they arrived late last week. They’ve also been leaked out online probably a month ago, all of the Black Friday deals, so the customer is very educated. So my recommendation, for the customer that hasn’t had a chance to look, is to get a hold of that book if you didn’t get one in the mail. If you don’t have access to it online, you can ask the people in the store and they would be more than happy to give you one and research what you want. If you have the book at home, take a picture of the items that you’re interested in with your phone, bring that in, show the associate so you can get in quickly and efficiently.”
Step two: remember you can use coupons in addition to some Black Friday deals.
McWatters says, “We have coupons for Thursday, all day Friday, Saturday, most of them apply to everything but a door-buster because those are the really good deals that coupons will not apply to. But there are many other things in the store.”
And to make sure you don’t forget those coupons at home, save them in your phone.
McWatters says, “Before you leave, take a picture of it with your phone. So it’s convenient. You don’t have to carry a book or piece of paper around.”
Step three: if a store runs out of something on your shopping list, ask them to ship it to you. You can usually get it for the same deal that’s going on in the store.
McWatters says, “We do have an item locator system. Many stores do where we’re able to get the item for the customer and have it sent to their home, and usually there’s no postage charge. So there’s a lot of conveniences added in store for customers to be able to get what they want when they want it.”
Step four: if you want to skip the crowds, go in the middle of the night.
McWatters says, “If the stores have the extended hours like Belk, I would recommend, if you’re a late night person, a night owl, come in between 11pm and 2 am. There’s barely anyone here, it’s a great time to shop. You can make your selections in peace if you’re really not into the crowd thing. It’s a great time to shop.”
Experienced Black Friday shoppers tell News 2 the order in which you go to stores also helps with crowd control.
Craver says, “Clothing stores first, and then the stores that most people go to second. Which, obviously puts you behind some of the best deals, but you know, it’s crazy.”
And Step five: if you don’t want to brave the crowds, you can usually find many of the same deals by shopping online.
One shopper, Elizabeth Williams, says, “Most of my big shopping is done online, so I’ll find something for sure.”
McWatters adds, “They can shop at Belk.com starting at 2 PM on Wednesday and get all of the door-buster deals that we’re offering in store, and there’s 400 of them.”