Like just about everything else these days, this year’s holiday shopping season will be vastly different from years past. The pandemic is rewriting retail rules.
Most malls are either closed or will have a much smaller number of shoppers. According to McKinsey’s study, when deciding to shop anywhere indoors, consumers are actively looking for the use of masks and physical barriers when deciding where to go.
Major retailers are also making new shifts. Walmart announced that for the first time in 30 years, it would be closing all stores on Thanksgiving Day.
Historically, a major shopping day for the world’s largest retailer, Walmart isn’t alone: Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s, and JCPenney will all close this Thanksgiving. This is a considerable shift, as before the pandemic, many top retailers started their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day.
More consumers will be shopping online than ever before. Like agents who underwent a digital transformation in their business, so too are brick-and-mortar retailers reinventing themselves online to shop this holiday season.
How do you get the best online deals?
Here are four tech shopping tips you can master before you buy to get many of the best deals:
Time your buy
Buying your holiday gifts on sale can make your budget go farther. Fortunately, both traditional and online retailers schedule many of their best deals on a specific day.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, are the two top online shopping days. These also mark when retailers offer some of their lowest prices of the year.
Traditional retailers share Black Friday as the number one sales day, but Super Saturday has been the second-biggest sales day for brick-and-mortar stores. Wherever you shop, pay attention to the calendar for these special sales days for 2020:
- Black Friday – Nov. 27
- Cyber Monday – Nov. 30
- Super Saturday – Dec. 19
Add a discount code
When you go to checkout for an online buy, you will often see a place to add a “discount code” or coupon. Two methods can help you determine if there might be one available for you.
You can perform a Google search for a discount code. Put the retailer’s name in quotes – such as “Best Buy” – as well as the term “discount code.” Before you start your search, change your search’s date to restrict the results to only results from within the past 24 hours, week, or month. To do this, look for “Tools” on the menu below the Google search bar. Where it defaults to “Any time,” choose one of the shorter periods from that pull-down menu so you won’t be entering an old code.
Be aware that you are likely to find more codes that are not relevant to your purchase or do not work than you will find discount codes that will give you savings. But it is worth a try.
The other method is to use a search tool extension like “Honey,” which searches for a discount code for you. It’s a free add-on to most browsers, providing a savings finder that promises to “scour the internet” and 30,000+ retailers to find a discount code and apply it automatically to your cart. The downside is these programs are able to track your activity online closely, but the reputable ones do not sell your personal data.
Again, these services are likely to tell you that the code you want isn’t available, but you save instantly on the purchase when a code is available.
Create an alert
Did you know you can set an alert to be notified when an item you want to buy goes on sale? If you shop at Amazon, Keepa is a browser extension that gives you the price history of products, and you can set up a “price watch” to alert you to a price change on specific products. With Shoptagr, another browser extension, you can set a price change alert that tracks thousands of stores online. Google Shopping on a mobile Chrome browser also gives you the ability to turn on “track the price” of any product. Again, tech tools like these have the potential to save you money on your holiday shopping.
Sign up for newsletters that do the work for you
Most traditional retailers use very aggressive email campaigns for sales promotion, particularly during the holiday season. Your inbox quickly can become cluttered by these retail pitches. A better solution: subscribe to reputable newsletters that search the internet to give you the best deals of the day.
Brad’s Deals is one example, providing daily emails featuring current low-price deals, often from major retailers. The company itself doesn’t sell you anything – but instead, Brad’s Deals tells you where to buy a product at a lower price. They often provide discount codes and sometimes include an additional discount code of their own to achieve the retailer’s lower price.
However you end up doing your holiday shopping, by doing a little homework and using one or more of these methods, you can stretch your budget.
Remember that if you find yourself having technical difficulties online, always reach out to one of our Tech Helpline analysts!
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