On Friday, retailers will be offering discounts in a major sale ahead of the festive season. The concept derives from the US, where sales start on the first Friday after Thanksgiving Day, known as Black Friday. The sales are so enormous that people queue overnight to be the first in store to grab the discounts.
Given the growth in online shopping, this sales event has been extended to Cyber Monday, when online retailers boost their bandwidth to accommodate the massive increase in online traffic.
I don’t find the South African equivalent to be quite as compelling, what with local retailers’ half-hearted attempts at offering 20% to 30% discounts. Compare this to the US event, where you can see discounts of up to 90%.
The hype around Black Friday and the occasional good deal gets consumers excited and ready to spend, regardless of the relatively minor bargains offered.
Remember, the marketing strategy is for you to buy stuff you weren’t planning on purchasing, so you need to go in with your own strategy to ensure Black Friday works for you, not the retailer or your credit card provider. So:
- Write a list of things you need and what you are prepared to pay for them. Make sure you don’t go down the rabbit hole and end up buying stuff that is not on that list.
- Find out how much those items cost before they go “on sale”. Sometimes the price is increased just before the sales to fake a bigger discount.
- This is a good opportunity to buy Christmas gifts – but again, have a list. Write down the names of people you want to buy gifts for, as well as how much you want to spend on each person, and stick to it.
- Don’t go out shopping with your credit card or store cards on you as the temptation to splurge may be too great. Ideally, draw the cash you plan on spending – so when it is spent, your shopping is over.
- Be circumspect about the deals on offer. Some retailers offer you vouchers for spending – which means you have to come back and spend more to get the discount. Avoid those offers; they are not saving you anything.