Posted by Chris Oberholtz, Multimedia Producer - email
NEW YORK (AP) -
Get ready for Black Friday week.
Stores are making a big
push to lure in bargain-hungry shoppers before the Friday after
Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. They
are putting on special sales that further creep into Turkey Day - and
For the first time, Disney
Stores, Sears and Kohl's are among the stores offering at least some of
the same Black Friday deals to customers a few days before Black Friday.
"It's no longer Christmas
creep. It's Christmas crush," said Marshal Cohen, chief research analyst
at NPD Inc., a market research firm, referring to the bevy of Black
Friday deals that shoppers will be able to buy earlier that week.
Many are also targeting
smartphone shoppers with apps that make it easier to shop the deals.
Macy's shoppers using the department store chain's new Black Friday app
will even get alerted to special unadvertised deals while they're in
line at the store.
But don't get caught up in the shopping madness. A smart and measured approach to buying will preserve your holiday budget.
"You need to keep your wits
about you," said Jodi Furman, author of a blog called Livefabuless.com.
"You can't allow the urgency and overwhelming excitement to carry you
Here's how to do Black Friday the smart way:
- RESEARCH THE DEALS AND
COMPARE PRICES: With Thanksgiving two weeks away, you should start
mapping out a strategy now. Make a list of what you want and how much
you want to spend. Check out decide.com, which uses data to help you
decide the best time to buy a certain product.
A bevy of websites already
have posted stores' Black Friday deals. Check out sites like
bradsdeals.com and the blackfriday.com that list hours and circulars for
the holiday weekend.
Brad Wilson, an online deal
expert and founder of BradsDeals, thinks stores are staggering sales
events throughout Black Friday week to create a "lot of noise" and make
it difficult for smartphone-toting shoppers to compare prices.
A few years ago, it was
easier to make "quick and imperfect decisions," he said. "Now, the
tables have turned and consumers have a transparent view of the
- USE SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow
your favorite stores' Twitter feeds and click the "Like" button on their
Facebook pages. Stores will use their social networks to update
shoppers on deals and store hours, says Carey Rossi, editor-in-chief of
ConsumerSearch.com. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., for example, unveiled its
Black Friday deals on Walmart.com, its Facebook wall and mobile app on
Thursday. Those who sign up to get email, download the app or "Like" its
Facebook page will be among the first to get early access to special
Black Friday store items to buy online and via the mobile app.
Meanwhile, Kohl's Facebook fans will receive exclusive savings during the holidays through Friday flash sales.
- SPREAD OUT THE SHOPPING:
The hoopla isn't just limited to Black Friday anymore. It's further
creeping into Thanksgiving, which falls on Nov. 22. But what's new this
year is that a number of stores are now allowing shoppers to actually
buy the early-bird specials even earlier in the week.
Macy's, Kohl's Co. and Best
Buy Co. will open again at midnight following Thanksgiving. For the
first time, department store chain Lord & Taylor is opening on
Thanksgiving, starting at 10 a.m. New this year at Kohl's: Its online
shoppers will be able to buy all early-morning specials on Nov. 21, and
like last year all day on Thanksgiving.
Sears Holdings Corp. said
its Sears stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and will stay open
overnight until 10 p.m. Friday. For the first time, Sears will allow
members of its free loyalty club called Shop Your Way to buy some of the
early-bird specials online as early as Sunday, Nov. 18.
Wal-Mart will start its
first Black Friday sale at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier
than last year. It then will have two more rounds of sales events,
including a 10 p.m. sale on electronics and another sale at 5 a.m.
Wal-Mart is also
guaranteeing shoppers that it will have three of the most popular items
if they are in line inside the store between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on
Thanksgiving Day. The three: an Apple iPad 2 for with Wi-Fi plus a $75
Wal-Mart gift card for $399; an Emerson 32-inch LCD TV for $148 and an
LG Blu-ray player for $38.
-USE YOUR SMARTPHONE OR
TABLET: For the first time, Macy's, through a partnership with eBay,
has a Black Friday app that will let customers browse and shop for
specials specific to the local store. Starting Nov. 15, customers will
be able to view Black Friday specials on their mobile devices and create
personal shopping lists they can edit and share.
Starting Nov. 19, Wal-Mart
will again have a Black Friday local store map available to view and
print on Walmart.com and its local Wal-Mart Facebook pages. But this
year, customers can view an interactive local store map on the Wal-Mart
mobile app and click on items to see the price, product description and
location in the store.
- KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS: With a
growing number of stores like Target Corp. offering price matching with
certain online rivals like Amazon.com, you may find a better deal later
and will have an easier time returning the more expensive item.
2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not
be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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