Is It Worth It to Participate in the Madness?
Dan de Grandpre, CEO of Dealnews.com, notes, "There are Black Friday-like deals happening now... We've already seen a Blu-ray player for $170, including $70 in free Blu-ray movies." That's the same as buying the player, with an original price of $400, for $100.
"We've also seen a 42-inch 720p LCD HDTV for $600 (usually $1000) and a Kingston 32GB USB Flash Drive for $30 (usually $80), both with free shipping. Expect more of the same throughout November," de Grandpre says.
Trang adds: "We find that Black Friday is actually a time for amazing deals." If you plan to buy something specific in the next six months and you discover a bargain advertised on Black Friday, buy it, Trang says. "We monitor these prices all the time. We saw one price on a tech product last year [on Black Friday], and we didn't see that good a price [on it] again for 11 months."
Get Advance Notice
While stores dedicate effort and money to encourage the public to notice their best sales, savvy customers have many ways to get the inside scoop, often in advance of public announcements.
NPD's Baker suggests visiting Black Friday-focused Web sites frequently to check for bargains. Many of these sites offer e-mail newsletters and RSS subscriptions to help you stay informed about the newest deals.
The Web sites listed below have started their daily updates already, so sign up as soon as possible to remain in the know.
Best Black Friday Web Sites
2008 Black Friday Ads: At this site you'll find a Black Friday shopping list and strategy guide, and you can arrange to receive e-mail updates when new advertisements are published.
Black Friday 2008: Supply your e-mail address to get deal updates. The site also offers a discussion community in which shoppers can share suggestions and deals with one another.
BlackFriday.info: This site will also send you updates via e-mail as new advertisements are announced.
Dealnews.com: Web site visitors can enable alerts by keyword, category, or vendor, and the alerts come via e-mail or RSS when a new posting matches the criteria. This site also provides daily e-mail newsletters.
Fat Wallet: Here you can join an active discussion community. Fat Wallet also partners with retailers so that you can earn cash back when you shop online through this Web site.
GottaDeal.com: Sign up for an e-mail newsletter providing updates when any new Black Friday ad is spotted.
iBlackFriday.com: At this site you can peruse scans of Black Friday newspaper ads from 65 stores. Visitors can browse the ads by clicking on the stores' logos.
SlickDeals.net: This site offers instant alerts for new deals sent directly to your mobile phone or e-mail address. It also has a discussion community and a blog.
Online discount retailers can offer bargains that local stores cannot match. Dealnews.com's de Grandpre suggests buying directly from manufacturers where possible, using coupon codes that are freely available on the Web sites mentioned above. Using this approach with manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and Sony will often give you access to options that are less expensive than what you can find in a brick-and-mortar store.