Black Friday has morphed in recent years from a 1-day in-store shopping spree to a several day event that took place BOTH in-store and online. Now that we are in 2021, it’s only fitting that Black Friday changes drastically once again. Here’s everything you need to know so you can plan your valuable time and save the most money in the process.
1a. Walmart is REALLY Mixing It Up
Walmart ain’t banking on a “normal” Black Friday this year, instead they’ve broken down the shopping day into the following 3 events…
- Event 1 Online: Starts at 7PM Eastern Wednesday, Nov. 3, at Walmart.com
- Event 1 In-Store: Starts at 5AM local time Saturday, Nov. 5
- Event 2 Online: Kicks off at 7PM Eastern Wednesday, Nov. 10 at Walmart.com
- Event 2 In-Store: Starting at 5AM local time Saturday, Nov. 13
- Event 3 Online: Not released yet
- Event 3 In-Store: Not released yet
As you’ve probably noticed, each Walmart shopping event starts online BEFORE it starts in-store.
This is done to discourage in-store shopping this year.
The best part? The deals online are IDENTICAL to the in-store deals.
So you’ll be able to score the same HDTV deal online as you would by heading to your local Walmart location.
Speaking of HDTV deals…Walmart is planning to sell a 55″ Smart HDTV for ONLY $228. These 2 deals will be available online and in-store during Event #2 so be sure to pounce on it quickly once it goes live.
The specific deals for Event #3 are yet to be determined but I’ll be sure to update this article when I know more.
1b. Target is Doing Something Similar
Black Friday at Target is running out new deals every Thursday (starting November 5th) all the way until Black Friday.
These deals will be available online at Target.com as well as in-store.
Their discounts will mainly be in these categories: Home, Apparel & Accessories, and Electronics.
For the first time ever, Target is offering a Price Match Guarantee on ALL deals bought between November 1-29th.
If you buy something early and it gets cheaper at Target after November 29th, they’ll give you a price match all the way through December 24th.
So if you bought something before or after Black Friday and Target then sells it as a “Black Friday deal” you can get the difference in price refunded back to you.
Here’s how the Target Black Friday schedule breaks down:
Nov. 1-7: Electronics deals (with new deals announced Nov. 6-8).
Nov. 8-14: Kitchen and floorcare deals.
Nov. 15-21: Electronics, apparel and beauty deals.
Nov. 22-28: The Black Friday sale. Find deals on toys, kitchen, floorcare, electronics, video games and select consoles.
1c. Best Buy is Mixing It Up Too
Best Buy is running Black Friday deals starting right now.
The deals are on higher end TVs, headphones, and home theater systems with their “doorbuster” savings coming later in November.
But the savings right now is still legit and up to 50% off the regular retail price.
They also have a Black Friday Price Guarantee this year for My Best Buy Members which guarantees you get the lowest price on Black Friday deals all the way until the Saturday after Black Friday.
1d. Other Popular Retailers Plans…
Lowe’s Cyber Steals: Ongoing
Home Depot Black Friday Prices Now: Launched 11/06
Kohl’s Black Friday Deals: Now through 11/09
Macy’s Black Friday Sale: Started 11/09
Ugg Cyber Closet and Black Friday Sales: Starts November 25
Nike Black Friday Sale: Starts on November 27
Nordstrom Black Friday Sale: Starts on November 27
Costco Black Friday Sale: Now through November 30
2. In-Store Shopping is Being Discouraged
Shopping in-store when it’s crowded is considered a “higher risk activity” by the CDC so I expect many shoppers will avoid Black Friday in-store shopping altogether and focus on the online deals.
Because of this, retailer’s will push out many of the same in-store Black Friday deals on their websites and online shopping will undoubtedly be king.
This trend has already been growing in recent years but I expect it to really take off this year.
A good rule of thumb is that pretty much everything on a store’s Black Friday ad will be available online except for the top 2-3 doorbuster deals found on the first page of a store’s ad.
But in 2020 that may be changing as all doorbusters could very well be available online…stay tuned.
3. Amazon is Banking on Cyber Monday
Look for deals from Amazon on Cyber Monday to be better than, or equal too, those found on Prime Day.
Amazon is making a push for “early” shopping on Cyber Monday (and Black Friday) so their delivery chain doesn’t get overloaded closer to Christmas.
The best deals will be on smart home devices, Alexa enabled devices, and cool gadgets and electronics.
My rule of thumb: If the savings isn’t at least 25% OFF the original price it’s not a deal.
4. Buy the Deal When You See It, Like NOW
The pandemic has created shortages on many products.
Expect shortages on appliances, some cars, fitness equipment, bicycles, and even some popular toys.
The shortage of bikes and fitness equipment is due to increased demand, and others are due to the cutting back of manufacturing jobs and hours.
The moral of the story? Starting now, when you see something on your Christmas list at a decent price, BUY IT.
This is especially smart as retailers like Walmart and Target are offering a price match if the price goes lower after you purchase it, even on Black Friday weekend.
If you wait until mid-December you stand a great chance of being very disappointed this holiday season, or you’ll be stuck buying your child’s “must-have” toy on eBay at a ridiculous markup.
5. Procrastinator’s Might Get Screwed
I am typically a HUGE fan of waiting until we got closer to Christmas to find the best bargains.
I’ve even discovered the days close to Christmas when the best deals are typically had.
But not this year as everything has changed due to the pandemic.
This year is more about buying the items on your shopping list when you find them, hopefully at a good price.
If you procrastinate and wait until the week before Christmas, when prices often drop, you just might get screwed this year.
So if you see a good deal on Black Friday, buy it, and don’t wait hoping that it might get even cheaper.
6. Most Amazon Prime Members Can’t Rely on 2-Day Shipping
Amazon can’t deliver most Prime orders within 2 days anymore, at least for the time being.
They blame it on the pandemic, others blame it on the USPS, but unless you live close to an fulfillment center, you probably aren’t getting your packages from Amazon quickly anymore.
Because of this you’ll want to plan your Amazon shopping earlier in December (or on Black Friday weekend) and not wait until the week before Christmas to place your orders.
The same goes for all other online retailers, SHOP ONLINE EARLY and avoid the mad delivery rush the last week before Christmas.
7. Shop eBay the Week After Black Friday
Shop eBay right after Black Friday this year.
The crazy folks who will still camp out on Black Friday morning, or those lucky enough to score online doorbusters, are hoping to snatch up as many deals as they can get their frozen little hands on.
To turn a quick profit MANY will post their loot on eBay.
Because of this, smart shoppers should check out eBay during the week following Black Friday.
You can essentially shop the Black Friday ads, and in many cases, you’ll only pay slightly more than if you had stood in line for hours.
8. Early Online Shopping Will be King
Because in-store Black Friday shopping will see a huge decrease this year, expect to see retailers offering “Black Friday online teasers” starting on the Monday or Tuesday of Thanksgiving week.
Smart shoppers should take advantage of these early deals at stores like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, and even Kohl’s.
Many of the deals will be exactly the same as those found on Black Friday.
So shop early, avoid the crowd, and still save money.
9. Two Tricks to Always Shop Online with a Coupon
With the heavy push towards online shopping this year, most online retailers are going to be fighting for your business on Black Friday.
This is great news for you and basically means you should NOT shop online and pay full price.
If you’re about to buy something at full price, try these 2 tricks to score a deal.
1. Use Live Chat to Score a Coupon – If you can’t find an online coupon code for a particular retailer, start a live chat session and politely ask for one.
Many chat operators will be standing-by on Black Friday waiting to hand out coupons for free shipping or up to 25% off….you just gotta ask.
2. Abandon Your Virtual Cart and Trigger a Coupon Emailed to You – This trick is a little more passive aggressive than starting a chat session but equally effective.
I discovered 17 retailers that will actually email you a coupon to complete your purchase if you logout of your account with items still in your virtual cart.
The savings ranges from 15% – 30% off and it makes for a great way to save on Black Friday, especially for significant purchases like electronics, appliances, and computers.
10. Look for Doorbuster Deals…Online
As I mentioned earlier when talking about Walmart, most doorbuster deals on Black Friday this year will be available BOTH online and in-store.
This may be the single biggest difference between this Black Friday and those in the past when you had to stand (or camp) in a LONG line to score that really cheap TV or laptop computer.
This year it will be a race with your mouse or smartphone to get items into your cart and bought before they sell out…let’s just hope websites are ready for the traffic influx…
Be sure to have your list ready and make an account with the retailer ahead of time so you can buy as soon as the online doorbusters become available.
11. Return Policies Will Be REALLY Extended
I fully expect the vast majority of retailers to have an extended holiday return policy in 2021.
Amazon has already extended returns for all items bought from October 1 – December 31 all the way until January 31st, 2022.
Look for other retailers to follow suit.
This gives shoppers more time to return items as many will not feel comfortable returning items in-store and will do it online which obviously takes longer.
Ask the Reader: How do you plan on spending your Black Friday? Online, in-store, or watching football and eating leftovers?
By Kyle James