(Memphis) The so-called Super Bowl of retail is upon us, so how can consumers score the best bargains?
Experts say whether folks spend their time online or in stores, Thursday or Friday, being a savvy shopper is what pays off.
From Target and Walmart to Amazon and Best Buy, customers willing to brave long lines and short tempers, retailers simply couldn't wait to blast Black Friday deals.
Despite the early start, online shopping expert Brent Shelton of Fat Wallet says Black Friday, or Thursday for that matter, is still the day for big door busters and special savings.
Shoppers, however, will need to be more prepared and really understand store policies this year.
"The different store hours, since the stores are opening early on Thanksgiving this year, they've got tiered door busters," explained Shelton of why consumers should plan ahead.
Shelton says this year's best buys are tablets, televisions, and smartphones.
"This is triple the amount of tablet deals that we saw last year and these are some of the lowest prices we've seen and these are on flagship models, not models from last year."
Plus, retailers are offering incentives like gift cards with purchases.
"We've also seen, I think yesterday my count was 15 televisions, 40" or bigger for under $300," says Shelton who also mentioned that prices on smart televisions have dropped as well.
To score the best bargains:
- Let the web, apps and social media work for you. Some sites have features that create shopping lists and aggregate ads and deals, so everything is in one place.
- Stack your savings! Think coupons, rebates and sites that offer cash back.
- Avoid cheap products. Some deals really aren't deals if the product is inferior. For example, some products are specifically manufactured for Black Friday. Think of them as the outlet version!
Shelton said, "There are television models that are made specifically for these Black Friday sales which makes them very difficult to research."
In such cases, Shelton says consumer forums can be a great resource for shoppers to research and discuss a product. Another idea is to contact the retailer or manufacturer directly to ask about product specifications.
It's also critical to keep safety in mind during the holiday season.
- Use secure sites
- Don't send unfamiliar people money
- Credit cards are safest option
- Watch out for counterfeit products