Monday, November 15, 2010
Electronics are the big draw this holiday season. My advice is to purchase gift cards for the electronic store where you would purchase the item so your gift recipient can get the best deal after the holiday season.
Sales will surely begin prior to Black Friday. Be sure to check weekly ad circulars and email sales—paying particular attention to the big tag items on your list.
Always pay close attention to the fine print on ads and coupons. Sales and discounts may not apply to the item you’re interested in or headlines may be misleading.
Extra discounts and promotions will also take place after the holiday shopping craze. Unless you have a hot item to purchase, hold out and avoid the crowds.
If you shop on Black Friday, be sure to make a list. Be prepared by doing your homework before you hit the mall. Know which stores will be most beneficial to you and where you will get the most bang for your buck. Make note of the “everyday” price of the items on your list. The “regular price” may rarely come into play. Some retailers will create hype for steep discounts from “regular price” when it’s really only a small change from the usual “sale” price.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate, where you feel comfortable. Many retailers may be more willing to offer additional discounts as the economy is still working its way out of the recession. Pay attention to stores who offer price match options. Ask if they’ll offer a discount for purchasing a large quantity or for paying cash? Even 5% off will make a difference.
If you haven’t received a store coupon, Google “store name and coupon” to see if other offerings are available before making purchases.
Do research before buying big ticket items. Google “consumer reviews for…” Use Edmunds, CNet, etc.
Shop around at three or four stores before making an impulse buy.
Understand the return policy. Be sure that the return policy will allow gift recipients sufficient time to return or exchange, if necessary. Check on restocking fees.
Shop at an obscure time on Black Friday to avoid the rush—unless you have an in-demand item on your list.
Arrive at 2 a.m. or later in the morning, around 9 a.m. and have someone drop you off and pick you up, so you won’t have to struggle to find a parking space.
Don’t buy electronics at a non-electronic store. Purchase from stores like Best Buy where you can take the item to be fixed.
From College of Business Professor Mark Neckes
Johnson & Wales University, North Miami Campus