Skip the crowds: Online shopping tips for Black Friday

Jeff Bertolucci
24 November, 2009
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You probably already know that many Black Friday bargains are available online too. Rather than brave the elements or risk being trampled at 5 a.m. like American shoppers, Australians can enjoy the luxury of shopping from the comfort of home – and at a more convenient time as well.

We asked a few expert bargain-hunters how online shoppers can score the best deals on Black Friday. Here’s their advice:

Dan de Grandpre, editor in chief of dealnews

  • Doorbusters, those incredibly cheap deals designed to get people in the door, may be available online too. Retailers often say they won’t sell doorbusters online, but that’s not always true. Last year, for instance, Wal-Mart offered all of its doorbusters online—but not until later in the day on Friday.
  • Don’t give up the savvy shopping techniques you’d use all year just because it’s Black Friday.
  • Many Black Friday deals aren’t in fact great deals. You’ll find better prices online. Use price-comparison sites like PriceGrabber and Shopping.com to be sure you’re getting the best deal.

Michael Brim, president of Black Friday deal site BFAds

  • Some retailers jump the gun and start their online sales as early as midday Thanksgiving. Yes, while you’re eating. (You could always excuse yourself from the table to nab that $78 Blu-ray player.)
  • Then again, many sales start between midnight and 3 a.m. (US Eastern time) on Friday (4pm and 7pm Australian eastern time Friday).
  • Be aggressive. You can’t wake up at noon Friday and expect everything to be in stock.
  • How do you know when online sale goes live? Well, you could reload a retailer’s page for hours. Another option is to monitor Black Friday sites like BFAds. They’ll let you know when sales are live.

John Dunkin, founder of iBlackFriday.com

  • Plan ahead. Go to a retailer’s site early, pick out everything you want, and add it to your shopping cart.
  • Next, log into your account on Thanksgiving Day to see if your products are available at Black Friday prices.
  • You can get pretty much everything you want online. If you don’t need a doorbuster item, don’t bother going to the brick-and-mortar store.

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