If, like me, you love a bargain, then you know that high point in the annual retail calendar is fast approaching.
Black Friday – an annual shopping extravaganza that’s become a global phenomenon – in the United States is expected to bring in over $5.9 billion.
While the sales are not as big in South Africa, the Black Friday sales weekend starts on 23 November and runs for up to five days for some retailers, offering off-the-charts savings across all retail categories. For shoppers, this is a highly competitive time – bagging the best deals requires forethought and a military-style strategy – so to help them win at their Black Friday shopping, the Takealot group has put together their top tips.
Julie-Anne Walsh, C hief M arketing O fficer at Takealot.com says, “Takealot – an online megastore – and fast fashion etailer Superbalist.com will both be offering massive discounts. We want all our customers to have the best chance of getting their wishlist items. There are definitely some very clever strategies that they can employ to bag the best deals.”
As well as tips from the Takealot group, we chatted to some incredibly astute (fanatical?) Black Friday shopping veterans to include their tips. We spoke to:
- Zuhaa, an account manager: “I’ll sound like a bit of a shopaholic; maybe a bit crazy too, but two years ago I was kicked out of a site and lost all my products, so I had to devise a plan. That’s how all my Black Friday skills began.”
- Bukelwa, a mom of two with another on the way: “You need to get creative and resourceful to get what you want on Black Friday – the competition is fierce and you want to win!”
- Bianca, content producer: “Only when the sun comes up do you finally sleep.”
Tip 1: If you are shopping online, set your alarm for 11:30pm on Thursday 22 November:
Most sales start as the clock strikes 12 – Takealot’s starts at 12.01 – so make sure you have data and your Wi-Fi isn’t past its cap. Get into bed early and set a few alarms. By the time the rest of the world wakes up you have done your shopping and be catching some restful winks before heading to work.
Zuhaa says, “Set your alarm for 11:30pm (the night before Black Friday) so that by 12, you’re the first on site for the best specials.”
Bianca recommends lots of coffee, vitamin B or Redbull (sometimes – unhealthily – all three because it gets REAL) because you need to be awake before Black Friday even starts and just keep refreshing your page until 12.01 am hits. “Then begins the all-nighter until the sun comes up.”
Tip 2: Teamwork makes the dreamwork
For Bukelwa, “I formed a WhatsApp group with my friends. Whoever gets online first already has a list of what everyone wants so they buy for everyone. Then we just pay that person back.”
Zuhaa says, “Make sure you have a shopping buddy or two or three… Each person should be dedicated to one site. For example, last year my mom was on Takealot and she got everything we all needed, I was on Superbalist and my sister did Spree. #Teamwork!”
Bianca says, “When I was a student, my friends and I used to do Black Friday ‘World of Warcraft’ multiplayer gamer-style. They’d come to my apartment with laptops and dongles. We’d all have a list of what everyone wants. My roommate and I would move our mattresses into the living room to make one big bed and camp out until 12 am, refreshing our browsers. That way, one of us was bound to make it onto the site first and buy the things we all needed.”
Tip 3: Create a wishlist so you can checkout ASAP on the day
The prices may change on goods for Black Friday, but the goods will already be there. Go online, create your wishlist in advance and then, when the sale starts, quickly go to your list, see which items are marked down enough and press ‘checkout’ to beat your shopping competitors to the bargain!
Zuhaa says, “Make a wishlist or put it in your basket a few days before. Log into your account, stock your basket up and by the time the sale hits, your products will update with the sale prices at checkout (most online sites do this in my experience).”
Klyne Maharaj, Head of Brand at Superbalist.com, says a wishlist is your battle strategy for the big day. “Line up the pieces you like best, and prepare to take them right to checkout when the time comes. Build your wishlist now so you’re prepared on the day. It’s going to be carnage so you don’t want to be browsing when half of SA is also online and trying to cart-jack you. Build that cart and move on!”
Tip 4: Do your homework
Get your hands on as many newsletters and flyers as you can. Like the Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of all your beloved retailers. Monitor their bargains closely. From early November, retailers will start to release their Black Friday weekend specials. Start your plotting and planning as early as possible and draw up a plan of action.
Tip 5: Have a plan of action on Black Friday
Some of your purchases may be in the real world and some in cyberspace. A good plan is to start with cyberspace early and then head off to the physical shops once you’ve done the calm and peaceful online shopping. Chances are, once you’ve been involved in a three-person scrum over the last Christmas turkey in the supermarket, you may only be capable of heading home and lying down…
Tip 6: Make sure your details are up-to-date
If you are shopping online, you won’t want to be messing around updating details as everyone around you is checking out what should have been your goods… It is worth logging into the sites you love before Black Friday and checking your delivery and payment details are 100% accurate.
Tip 7: Get the app
Download the app for your favourite online retailers early. This will allow you to browse much faster and they’ll also send you push notifications of the big discounts to look out for. Plus some etailers offer app-only deals.
Tip 8: Check in advance if you can return your purchases
Most outlets, both online and physical, will accept returns for Black Friday purchases, but this is not a guarantee. It is worth checking terms and conditions in advance to make sure that any purchases made ‘in the moment’ can be returned.
Tip 9: Set a budget
Decide ahead of time what you plan to spend on the Black Friday sales and stick to it. You could quickly find yourself shopping for Christmas 2018, 19 and 20 if you are not careful. Be responsible and remember that the expensive festive season is coming up, so you’ll need a bit left over for this!
Bukelwa, “It is always good to draw up a list to make sure you get what you NEED so that you avoid over spending.”
Klyne Maharaj encourages shoppers to dare to waitlist. “Missed out on your size? Is the piece you’ve been eyeing in someone else’s cart? Hope’s not lost – this is just where the Waitlist function comes in. Waitlist that baby and keep your eye on the prize: when that notification slides into your inbox to let you know that you’re first in line again, you’ve only got a few minutes to make it yours.”
A few last Takealot tips:
- Load gift vouchers ahead of time so you can check out quickly
- If you are buying a TV, you’ll need an up-to-date TV license account number on hand for the transaction to go through
- If you plan to buy a big ticket item such as a TV, or fridge and need credit to do this, apply for Mobi Cred ahead of time as there is a waiting period before approval
Takealot ’s Blue Dot Sale runs for five days with amazing discounts on Black Friday, throughout the weekend as well as on Cyber Monday and Takealot Tuesday. These sales are phenomenal and can see consumers walk home with purchases discounted by up to 6 0% in some cases. Superbalist has also super-sized their 2018 Black Friday sale to run for five days.
Visit Takealot.com or Superbalist.com to start planning your Black Friday shopping and don’t forget to download their apps to get access to pre-Black Friday sales, app-only deals and lots of sneak previews.