Overcrowded stores, parking lot wars, infinite checkout lines. You know what we’re talking about: Black Friday, the official launch of the holiday shopping season. According to a study by Flipp, more than half (58%) of Americans are planning to participate in Black Friday shopping this year. We know you must be excited for all the great deals and savings to be had, but what you’re probably not looking forward to is all the chaos that ensues.
Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered. Flipp Chief Deals Officer, Christina McNally has put together a comprehensive, week-by-week plan to help you navigate Black Friday in the most effective way. Stick to her plan and by the time Black Friday comes around, you’ll be equipped to effortlessly navigate the chaos, pick up items on your wish list, and come out on top. Let’s get started!
WEEK 1: PREPLAN — November 1-7
60% of Black Friday shoppers in the U.S. start planning at least 2 weeks in advance. So if you want a successful Black Friday haul, the pre planning stage is extremely important to avoid panicking once the day arrives.
Make Your Shopping List
First and foremost, make your shopping list. Black Friday is a great opportunity to get your holiday shopping out of the way. Your list will help you keep track of who you’ll be buying gifts for and what you’ll need to buy.
#FlippTip: Making a list beforehand will help you stay focused, avoiding the temptation of shopping for things you don’t need and ultimately over spending.
Don’t worry if your list isn’t fully flushed out by this stage. Just have a general idea so that you can be on the lookout for those items once the deals are announced. You can use the shopping list feature on Flipp to add items as they come to mind and the app will easily populate deals for you all in one place.
Set Your Budget
The next thing you should do in week one is figure out your budget. This budget will set the stage for the following weeks, helping you decide which deals are worth pursuing. By having a clear idea of what you can afford, you’ll avoid unpleasant surprises once those credit card bills start rolling in. Be very specific with your budget by splitting it up by categories. How much will you spend on gifts for others? How much will you spend on household items? You get the idea.
#FlippTip: Don’t forget about things like wrapping paper, holiday cards, and decor. Those should all be incorporated into your budget as well.
WEEK 2: BROWSE — November 8-14
This is where the fun starts! Although we’ve already seen a few pop up, week two is when retailers generally start advertising their Black Friday deals, getting consumers excited for the big day. This sneak peek into what’s to come is the perfect way to help you plan.
Browse Store Circulars
45% of Black Friday shoppers plan to use digital circulars to research the best deals, making Flipp the perfect tool to help you do that. The Flipp app collects digital circulars from national and local stores near you, allowing you to easily access them from your phone. So even if you don’t get certain circulars or weekly ads delivered to your home, you don’t have to worry about missing out on deals. Flipp makes it super simple to find all your Black Friday deals on electronics, home and garden, kitchen, fashion and so much more.
#FlippTip: Circulars and weekly ads are a great source of inspiration for gift ideas. So if you didn’t get to the details during your week one pre planning, adjust your list if you come across a ‘must-have’ item for someone on your list.
Clip the Deals You Like
If you see a deal you’re interested in while browsing any circular on Flipp, you can save it and come back to it later. This is called “clipping.” By clipping deals, you’ll be able to easily see them in one place without having to go back and look for them in the circular.
Subscribe to Emails
Email newsletters are more powerful than you think. If you have a handful of stores on your radar, consider subscribing to their emails this month. Emails are the most effective way for stores to announce their last-minute deals that might have not made it into the circular. If you haven’t already, you can also subscribe to our emails. We’ll be sending out our top deals throughout the month to keep you in the loop.
WEEK 3: PLAN — November 15-21
By the third week of the month, all you’ll be seeing and hearing about are Black Friday deals, which means you can start putting together your game plan!
Do a Quick Search
If you’ve been looking through circulars and emails and still haven’t come across certain items on your list, take advantage of Flipp’s powerful search feature. This feature will not only scan through all the circulars and stores you might’ve overlooked, but will also pull up online offers. More stores are making their sales available online, so expanding your search will help you find the absolute best price.
Take Note of Sale Dates
Black Friday is no longer a one-day sales event. Many retailers have begun their sales as early as Wednesday and some even extend their sales past Black Friday, so there’s no need to worry if you can’t do it all in one day, although the thrill of the hunt is part of the excitement.
Pay attention to sale dates on circulars to plan when you can visit each store, or whether the offer you’re into will be available online. If you plan this right, you might be able to avoid the rush altogether!
Plan Your Route
Planning a route is essential to make the best use of your time. My strategy: get in and get out. One in three in-store Black Friday shoppers plan to visit four-six different stores during Black Friday, so I usually make it a point to visit big box retailers first, since they’ll be the busiest. Plan your route so you’re hitting the stores furthest from home first and work your way back. That way, you’re avoiding as much traffic as possible, and if you’re tired and just want to get home, you won’t be far from it.
WEEK 4: SHOP — November 22-29
You’re in the home stretch — you’ve done all your research and made a bullet-proof plan. All the hard work is behind you, and now you’re ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Review Your Plan
Go over everything you’ve prepared for your Black Friday haul: your budget, your list, your route, etc. Double check your clippings list on Flipp, and delete any clippings of deals you no longer plan to pursue. Having the most up to date shopping list and clippings list will help you stay laser-focused on the big day.
Prepare a Survival Kit
42% of in-store Black Friday shoppers plan to start early — before 8 AM! Your survival kit will get you through the day, and includes everything you need for a successful day.
First up in your survival kit is your phone. Make sure it’s fully charged before you head out so you can check your list and have Flipp handy. If you’re splitting your shopping, it’s always good to stay in contact with that person so you’re not doubling up. I also grab a sturdy tote and avoid using a cart. On a busy day like Black Friday, the last thing you want to do is go from parking lot wars to shopping cart wars. Make it simple with a tote.
You also want to have a water bottle handy so you stay hydrated (maybe a morning jolt of coffee, too) and a protein bar or two in your bag. This will keep you from wasting time and money on unhealthy food from the food court, or from making hangry purchase decisions that you may regret later. Last but not least is comfortable clothing. You’ll be doing a lot of walking so wear comfy shoes and light clothes (this helps if you want to try on clothes and avoid the change room line).
Check Last-Minute Deals
Okay so you’re done planning and already found most of the things you need. But if you have some budget left over (because you planned so well and saved even more) and feel like treating yourself to a well-deserved gift, check out the Deals tab on Flipp! Here you’ll see which deals are trending in your area, and which items have the deepest discounts. It’s a quick and easy way to discover items you might not have thought of.
We know that was a lot of information, but if you take it week-by-week you’ll have your most successful Black Friday yet. The best part is that after all this is done, you’ll be all set for the holidays! All you’ll have left to do is wrap all those presents and enjoy your new finds throughout the season.
Have any more Black Friday tips? We’d love to hear them! Mention us on Facebook and Twitter @getflipp with your ideas.