As we all know, this upcoming weekend (including Black Friday!) is the biggest retail extravaganza of the year. It’s that time of the year when you will be hammered with Black Friday Sale deals all around you – online as well as offline. If you are on the lookout to score some good ones for yourself or your loved ones for this holiday season, you need to be well-prepared beforehand.
All deals are not ‘great’. Filtering out is important to ensure you buy products that have a seriously good deal to go with. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016, consumers should also watch out for scams that come through spam, insecure public networks and apps that might seem legitimate but could be taking over your phones and computers, experts say.
Here are 5 tips to help you shop wisely this shopping season.
1. Carry out a thorough research
Before going out to the stores or opening up Amazon and BestBuy, make sure you have done complete research about the sale. This research involves deciding what kind of products you would want to buy if on sale, and also checking resources to see what products will most likely be on sale. You should also shortlist your preferred products and check out their reviews to see whether the stuff you’re buying is genuine and is of good quality. So, if you get a bad product for cheap, it isn’t too much of a great deal, now is it?
2. Browse all deals before you start
Before you begin browsing around stores and marketplaces, make sure you have made a note of what all deals have been announced beforehand. These deals are usually part of newsletters and newspaper brochures that come just before Black Friday. You would want to stack them up and compare the prices online to see if you are getting a worthy deal or not. As you browse the deals, make a list with the product, who it’s for, the price, the location and any special hours for the sale.
3. Set up all your accounts beforehand
If you are planning to target all the major retail sites like Amazon, BestBuy and Walmart, it is advised that you set up all their online accounts beforehand, and fill in all relevant details like address, number and email ID. This helps in quickly scoring that sweet deal, which you might have missed in the login process. If needed, store all your card details with your favourite retailers; you can remove them once done with the sale.
4. Use a credit card, not a debit card
With the recent vulnerabilities in the news, it is much better, safer and convenient to use a credit card to make all your online payments, instead of a debit card. Apart from that, it is much better in processing refunds and the bank can intervene in case of frauds or unnecessary transactions.
5. Track your brands on social media
A pro tip can be following all your favourite brands on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, to catch their updates on the products they have on offer during the Black Friday sale. But to protect from any fraudulent deals, make sure the accounts you are following are verified on each platform. Be wary of clicking on links from WhatsApp. Some scams have unearthed in the past, which have taken users to spam websites in lure of deals. Here are a dozen steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim.
- Only download or buy apps from legitimate app stores.
- Suspect apps that ask for too many permissions.
- Check out the reputation of apps and particularly the app publisher.
- Only enter credit card info on secure shopping portals.
- Avoid using simple passwords, and use two-factor authentication if you can.
- Be alert for poisoned search results when using search engines to find products.
- Don’t install software that sites require before you can shop.
- Don’t use free pubic Wi-Fi to make purchases.
- Be suspicious of great deals you learn about via social media or emails and don’t click the links.
- Turn off location services while shopping to minimize the potential personal data that could be compromised.
- Make sure the connection to e-commerce sites is secured (HTTPS).
- Double check the validity of the SSL certificate for the site.
Any other tips you think are helpful? Share with us in the comments below.