Black Friday is virtually every shopper’s favorite time of the year, copping the best deals and high discounts off on even the most expensive items on the shelves. With the advent of technology, the usual long lines, traffic jams, and packed department stores and malls can now be avoided as the online world has also welcomed this frantic albeit fun time of the year for shopping aficionados all over the world to enjoy.
To help you get the most out of this global sale, here are a few tips to keep in mind before getting lost in the online Black Friday craziness:
1. Set a Realistic Budget
Start by creating an overall budget plan and set a realistic amount for the items you are looking to buy. Make a list of the things you need to buy against the things that would be nice to purchase during Black Friday. This will help ensure you get the best deals over just buying things because they’re cheap after Thanksgiving.
2. Make a list of stores to visit
Create a list of the online shops you want to check out even before Black Friday comes. Websites and social media channels usually contain announcements or deals to watch out for, even weeks before the big day. Similarly, The PawnHero Marketplace is the perfect place to snag branded items 80% off its market value that also provides a 3-month layaway payment option when you checkout.
3. Download Shopping Apps
Strategy is key when you’re up against hundreds of thousands of online shoppers all over the world. If you have more than just your laptop at your disposal, it is a wise move to download apps like DealNews or Zoomingo to help you keep track of the hottest discounts and get alerts to notify you when a new deal is available.
4. Scrap The Debit Card
When purchasing online, make sure you use your credit card instead of your debit card. Debit cards deduct the cash from your bank account instantly, as soon as you make the purchase. And in rare cases where someone else was able to access your account without your knowledge or perhaps a website bug got in the way while you were shopping, you will still be able to contest what really happened once you get access to your credit card statement and not risk losing your money in the bank.
5. Check The Time
When buying from online stores, chances are they follow their local time that could be different when you are shopping from the Philippines. Find out what time Black Friday kicks in on their part of the world, so you won’t be too early or too late to start your shopping adventure.
6. Use Price Comparison Sites
Price comparison sites, such as Shopzilla.com, BizRate, and NexTag are great websites that allow you to compare prices from different online stores. You can avoid getting the sucky feeling of thinking you already copped the lowest deal on an item when there was a cheaper alternative somewhere else. Be sure to check on shipping rates too, since some online stores charge for shipping rates when you want items shipped outside of the US.
7. Read The Return Policy
Before The Black Friday sale starts, make sure you get to read the online store’s return policy, whether you are able to return the items that you bought during the sale, or not. Your purchased items will be shipped to you so its good practice to know ahead of time if you can return a product that does not meet your standards should an unfortunate shopping event arise.
8. Ask For Gift Receipts
With the annual season of gift giving rolling in, you may as well do your online gift shopping during Black Friday. Be sure to ask for a gift receipt on those items you plan to give as a present so that in the case where the person you’re giving it to prefers something else (in hopes of no emotional offense, just a strong affinity to another product), he or she can still be able to trade it for something else.
9. Mind Your Passwords
Online shops usually require shoppers to create an account, so when you sign up for one, make sure you choose a secure password to go with it. It is also advisable to change your passwords regularly so as to avoid the instance of hackers being able to crack them. It’s also wise to turn off your auto-fill option so that passwords aren’t automatically entered during sensitive activities that require your personal information.
10. Don’t Use Public WiFi
Public WiFi connections are never secure, so do not attempt to connect to one when you start your online Black Friday shopping spree. Those who provide free WiFi can easily access the device you’re using and monitor your activity, so it’s better to do secure activities like shopping, checking your bank account, or even accessing your email using a password-protected internet connection.
11. Turn On Your Computer Firewall
Computer Firewalls are your first line of defense against hackers who are attempting to attack your computer. Those threats are stopped cold simply by having a firewall. Make sure you turn on your firewall before engaging in any social or online activity that includes shopping so that your personal information is always kept secure.
12. Be wary of fake online shops
With every shopper craving for discounts, it won’t come as a surprise when fake online shops or sellers could also pop up, wanting to steal your personal information including sensitive data such as addresses and credit card numbers. Make sure you run a quick background check on the online store you’re looking at especially if this is the first time you’ve heard of it actually existing. Run a quick Google Search on the shop, check out reviews from customers, and keep yourself informed. Don’t let the concept of Black Friday get you in trouble.
When you’re checking out online shops, look for a little padlock just beside the site’s address (URL) to be sure it’s a safe and secure website.
When you’re about to pay, make sure the address of the page starts with HTTPS:// instead of HTTP:// (to make it easier to remember, think of the extra “S” to mean Security)
Also, when you’re browsing an online shop, keep a keen eye out for spelling mistakes or poorly-edited images, this may indicate that the website was hastily created.
13. Be Careful When You Receive Unsolicited Email
You might receive email that contain too-good-to-be-true discounts and deals. Exercise good judgment and look out for red flags especially with messages that prompt you to enter personal information in exchange for free stuff. Also, avoid clicking links that would prompt you to directly visit a scam site.
14. Be Responsible With Your Online Transactions
Paying online still poses the risk if you’re not careful. Be sure you are only entering your personal information on trusted sites (clue: little padlock again just beside the website address!). Most banks have an online feature where you can manage your accounts and see your recent purchases so you can also use that to make sure that you are only paying for what you actually ordered. You can also check for labels like Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode just before you checkout.
15. Don’t Forget About Cyber Monday!
While Black Friday is definitely the best time to shop, the Monday that follows, is also another day for shoppers to rejoice. If you chance upon a deal, but find yourself thinking twice about purchasing it, you may want to wait it out a bit and get an even better deal come Cyber Monday.
Keep these tips in mind and you’re sure to get the most out of the Black Friday Sale. With the right plan and strategy in place, you can definitely save more when you shop during this time of the year, compared to shelling out more money when you shop on an ordinary day. Have fun shopping!
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