If you live in America, you know that “Black Friday” is almost here! In fact many people all around the world are also awaiting this special day.
What is Black Friday & Cyber Monday?
If you don’t know what Black Friday is, let me explain. Black Friday is the day after the American Thanksgiving holiday – the last Friday of November. It is the big event that kicks off the holiday shopping season. Black Friday has always been the day for in-store shopping and Cyber Monday (the Monday after Black Friday) is actually the day for online shopping. Both of these days now have been combined and you are able to get good deals both online and in stores starting sometimes weeks ahead of Black Friday.
Here are some tips for Surviving Black Friday…
If you are a hard-core Internet shopper like me, then you probably already know the drill. If not, use these tips to prepare yourself for some online shopping fun.
Please note that both Black Friday and Cyber Monday has become a very popular concept around the world. And although most of the tips are for shopping on US websites, they are also applicable for shopping online promotions worldwide.
(1) How to Plan for Black Friday
Start Online Window Shopping. Make sure you start browsing online for what you want. Start filling your cart with the “potential” items you want to purchase. Most sites will save the items your cart for at least a few days. If you register and login, your cart will be saved much longer.
Go to the Shopping Mall. Go to your own local mall in Singapore (or other parts of the world) and start looking around. See what you like and then search online to see if any of the online US stores offer it for cheaper. If yes, add it to your US cart. Take note of the price in Singapore and then the price online.
Ask Around. Know what sites you want to shop at. Ask your friends, go on forums and check websites to find out what are the hot stores/deals going on in America.
Make a Christmas Gift List. Make a list of the people that you need to buy gifts for and a potential budget for each person. Know their sizes and favorite colors.
Make a Personal Shopping List. Don’t leave yourself out of the fun. Make a list of things that you need to shop for as well.
Establish a budget. Establish a total budget for the day. It is very easy to get carried away with all the deals online. Don’t forget that when shopping internationally, you will also need factor in the shipping charges and GST taxes / duty if the package is over SGD$400 (the amount varies per country).
Download the Mobile App. If you are shopping on your phone or ipad, make sure to download the store app prior to Black Friday.
(2) How to find Black Friday Promotions & Deals
Searh for Coupons. Most stores offer coupons online! All you have to do is a Google search with the name of the store and the word coupon or discount code. Make sure to keep a look out for the advertisements and promotion newsletter a few days before the sales begin.
Sign-Up. Pre-Black Friday, make sure to sign up for store newsletters, Facebook pages, Instagram, etc. For being a loyal customer, many stores will reward you with extra coupons in your inbox, which you might be able to use to get an even bigger discount on your Black Friday purchase.
Use the Mobile App. Some stores offer extra discounts for using their mobile app to shop. Make sure to download the app in advance and get the coupon code.
(3) International Payment & Shipping Charges
Establish Your Form of Payment. Many US sites do not accept international credit cards. Make sure your international credit card is accepted at the online store you are shopping at. Alternatively, set up a PayPal account and use that for all of your purchases.
Shop with a Friend. Talk to your friends and see if you can group your purchases together. This way you can split and save money on shipping charges.
Check for International Shipping. Before you shop know what you are getting yourself into. Look at the shipping policy and find out if the store ships to your country. If they do, great! Now find out the price. Is it worth it? If they don’t ship to your country, look using a forwarding service for all of your packages.
- Super Tip: Make sure you know your sizes and are sure about your purchases. Making international returns can sometimes be costly, especially if it is not a faulty item.
Sign up for a Forwarding Service. There are many forwarding mail services (like ComGateway, vPost, MyUS, ReShip.com, etc), that allow you to ship all your packages to a US address and then the packages will be shipped to Singapore (or your country of choice) for a fee.
- Super Tip: First time customers usually will get a special promotion or discount at most of these mail forwarding sites, so make sure to check for this before signing up.
Try to Get Free U.S. Shipping. During Black Friday weekend the majority of the stores will offer free shipping if you ship to a U.S. address if you spend a certain amount of money. Sometimes all you need to do is add an extra item in your cart to get the free shipping, which ends up actually being more cost efficient than paying the shipping charges.
- Super Tip: If you are using a forwarding mail service definitely try to get as much domestic free shipping as possible. It would would really suck to have to pay double shipping charges, which defeats the purpose of the sale.
(4) It’s Black Friday – Now What Should I do?
Check your Internet Connection. Make sure you internet connection is working and at high speed. The last thing you want is a cart full of things with no way to buy.
- Super Tip: If your internet services happens to fail on you, use your mobile hotspot and buy, buy, buy. 😉
Prepare for Delays and Site Crashes. The stores with the hottest deals do have delays and sometimes crash. This happened last year for Walmart and many other stores.
Shop At the Start of the Sale. Popular items and sizes will sell out fast. Some promotions start as early as a week before Thanksgiving day and run until the following Tuesday.
- Super Tip: If your cart is already full and saved with your items, your shopping experience will be much faster & easier.
Shop Doorbusters & Time Sensitive Items First. Start your shopping with the items that are special doorbusters or have a time frame attached. Some stores have special doorbusters or 4 hour deals. Some sites also have limited quantities available of a certain item at the reduced price (similar to buying the cheap tickets on an airline).
Some Places to Shop Online
If you are not familiar with the US stores, here is a list of some stores to check-out for Black Friday promotions. There are way too many to list, but hopefully this will help you get started.
House – Amazon, Walmart, Target, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Williams & Sonoma, BestBuy Baby & Kids – Carter’s, Pottery Barn Kids, Crazy 8, The Children’s Place, Baby Restoration Hardware, Diapers.com, Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, Osh Kosh, Department Stores – Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Nordstroms, Neiman Marcus, JCPenny, Sears, Mom & Family – Express, The Limited, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, White House Black Market, Bebe, BCBG, Ann Taylor, Armani Exchange, Hugo Boss, Kenneth Cole, Lane Bryant
- Super Note: Unfortunately some U.S. Sites will not let you shop internationally (like Guess, Express, Abercrombie, Kate Spade, etc.) and will redirect you to your local country site. In this situation you can use a VPN service.
Good luck with your shopping!! Hope you get a lot of awesome deals.