Brits spent £7bn on Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year – and we don’t want you to miss out on your dream deal.
If you’re planning on shopping the sales event of the year, which starts on November 29th, Love the Sales have a few insider tips you need to know about.
Whether you’re caffeined up on your keyboard or sprinting to the shops, these are the unmissable hacks you need to know.
Hacks for the online Black Friday browsers
1. Sign up to retailers’ promotional emails
Sign up to retailers’ marketing emails before Black Friday.
Many share exclusive Black Friday deals and promotions via email as early as the beginning of November.
Offers will range from insider benefits and voucher codes to newly released deals and countdown offers.
If only every email we received had a discount code inside!
2. Organize your inbox
OK, so you’ve signed up to every brand you want to receive Black Friday offers from.
But, what happens when you get 1,001 emails and your normal messages get lost in all the promos?
Or worse, the best deals get buried amongst your everyday emails?
Here’s a great tip…
Create a new folder in your mailbox and label it ‘Black Friday’.
Now, create a ‘rule’ that automatically forwards emails to it. This will be based on keywords in the content of the emails you receive.
Here is the step by step guide for ‘creating a rule’, if you have a Hotmail account (it’s a similar process for most emails):
Click on an email in the inbox
Click on the three dots(…) in the top toolbar
Go to ‘create a rule’
Select your ‘Black Friday’ folder
Add a rule similar to the one below
Every Black Friday email you receive will now go into your Black Friday folder.
3. Use price comparison sites
Comparison sites or aggregators are a no brainer.
They create a marketplace where you find items you would most certainly have missed if you were just searching Google.
This is because smaller brands get overshadowed by big giants in Google, but smaller stores have great deals to offer too.
Love the Sales is a comparison site that hosts deals from the small stores right up to the giants. You can shop 1000’s of retailers’ Black Friday deals, in one place, so you don’t miss a deal on the day.
Last Black Friday weekend, Love the Sales had millions of deals on the site and there will be even more this year.
4. Use price history tools
Price history tools let you see how the cost of a product has changed over time. Check to see if that Black Friday deal is actually a good deal, or if it is just made to look like one.
PriceSpy is a UK site that has the price history of tens of thousands of products.
CamelCamelCamel is a similar tool, but specifically for Amazon products.
If you enter the URL of any Amazon product into the toolbar you’ll see the price history as far back as five years.
How useful can these tools be?
A Which? investigation in 2018 found a significant number of Black Friday deals were actually cheaper before the sales event.
So if you’re thinking of buying a big purchase like a technology product over Black Friday, use a price history tool.
It’s easy to be fooled by the long list of tech specs that can make deals seem better than actually they are.
5. Avoid high delivery costs
Compare the delivery costs from different retailers.
Delivery charges can be up to £5 for clothing and even £10 to £15 for electronics.
If a retailer has a high delivery charge, use shopping comparison sites to find a different retailer, with a lower delivery cost.
Retailers like Asos will offer free delivery when you spend over £20.
You might find that the delivery charge is cheaper elsewhere.
6. Get your items delivered to a safe place
Deliveries are a stressful part of online shopping.
No-one wants to spend their time worrying about picking up missed parcels.
Make sure there is either someone ready to collect your delivery, or ask the delivery service to leave your item in a safe place or with a neighbour.
7. Pick your item up after Black Friday
Physical stores are a nightmare around Black Friday.
Since 2006, there has been 117 physical injuries because of Black Friday crowds.
Many deals have now migrated online, but it is still bad enough to make your life difficult in the shops on Black Friday.
If you have blood pressure problems, best to steer well clear.
Now if you’re like us and you hate paying for delivery, then click + collect is probably your best friend.
It’s usually free, or much cheaper.
And it beats getting one of these slips through your letterbox.
Make sure you select a delivery date before or after the Black Friday weekend, and pick your item up when it’s less busy.
8. Be the first to know about the discounts – sign up for sale alerts on brands
Signing up to Love the Sales gives you access to follow a brands’ sales you want to hear about.
They make a small commission when you go through to the retailer, from their site.
You can get around 1-5% cash back on purchases, depending on the retailer you buy from.
10. Avoid online queues to access websites
Nobody likes queuing, especially when it’s via an online queuing screen.
Unfortunately this is how retailers deal with huge traffic increases on Black Friday.
Sometimes they will hold customers in a queue to stop their site from crashing.
This is because most online shoppers come through the homepage of a retailers site.
One way around this is to bookmark the products you want before Black Friday.
Come the day, go directly to the item’s URL, bypassing the homepage traffic.
Perfect for the queue cutters among us – warning, do not attempt in real life!
11. Check online reviews
Customer reviews are a great help for deciding if a deal is a good one or not.
Online reviews are predominantly unbiased and can give detailed insights into a product before you buy.
Reviews will come in handy for anything, but they are important when it comes to high value items.
Sometimes if a product has bad reviews, that might be a reason it has 65% off in the Black Friday sales.
12. Look out for the fake user reviews
In an investigation this year, Which? exposed thousands of manipulated Amazon reviews that boosted the ratings of poor products.
They have also done studies where this occurs on eBay and in certain Facebook groups.
Which? advises shoppers to:
Be wary of big review numbers – if there are a large number of positive reviews for a relatively unknown brand or product, something might be fishy.
Find the most recent reviews – Amazon order their reviews by those voted most helpful by readers. Sort reviews by most recent to get an updated picture of the product. As a new iteration might have launched in the last few years.
13. Create a wishlist board with Pinterest
Already have a Pinterest account? Then you will know how great it is for storing inspiration on what to buy, across the web.
If you don’t, you can create an account for free, and pin images from websites, into boards.
For example, if you’re looking for a dining room table this Black Friday, you could pin tables you like the look of on your Pinterest page, and cross-reference with the deals on homewares and furniture sites.
Most images on Pinterest will have a link directly to the product, making it the perfect visual wishlist.
14. Get money off for being a new customer
Retailers will regularly offer 10%, 20% or even 30% off your first purchase, to get you onto their email database.
If you are already going to sign up for their promo emails and newsletters (see tip 1), look out for the extra % off codes via pop ups and at the bottom of homepages.
15. Follow your favourite brands on social media
Brands love to advertise their Black Friday deals on social media.
To keep track of their offers, follow your favourite brands before Black Friday.
An extra tip is to view the products you want for Black Friday, before the event.
Brands may advertise that product to you over social media, at a reduced, Black Friday price.
16. Use pay later services over Black Friday
Worried your bank account is going to take a hammering at the end of November?
You pay for what you keep, and the money only comes out of your account when you decide to keep your purchase.
You will need to sign up for an account first and choose the pay later option in the checkout.
Note that not every retailer offers this option.
17. Make the checkout faster
Are you one of those people at the airport who has their ‘getting through security’ routine down to a fine art? Well, your online checkout routine needs to be on point too.
The best Black Friday deals are like a box of Krispy Kremes in a shared office space, they’re gone at the speed of light.
In order to get the product you want without it going to another lucky punter, you need to be a credit card number ninja.
Here is a speed round of useful tips to make the check out a faster experience.
Keep your card details to hand.
Save your payment details and preferred shipping address on the retailer’s website before Black Friday.
Save your details on Google Chrome. Google will auto-suggest payment options at checkout.
Apple pay – make sure that your thumbprint is recognised and ready to go.
All of the above will save you time at the checkout and help you secure your deals, faster.
18. Use your favourite publications for recommendations
Most news sites will have a section on their site dedicated to Black Friday.
The page will highlight recommendations on what they consider to be the best deals on the day.
This is perfect for the shopper that is looking for some Black Friday inspiration.
For UK shoppers, check out:
For US shoppers, check out:
19. Get price drop alerts on wishlisted items with Love the Sales
Create a free account on Love the Sales.
Then you can start wishlisting millions of products, both discounted and full price.
The best part is, when an item in your wishlist drops in price, we will email you a ‘Price Drop Alert’.
If you are a bit of a skeptic and think, “oh but my items will hardly ever drop in price.”
Fear not, as an incredible 82% of all online products drop in price, and many of those price drops come in the Black Friday sales.
20. Know your sizes
Know your clothing and shoe size for your favourite online shops and brands.
Popular sizes will sell out fast on Black Friday, and it will save you time to be certain that you are a size 12 in one store and a size 10 in another.
21. Filter by your sizes on Love the Sales
Is there anything worse than finding a product you like, that’s on sale, but your size has already sold out.
Ain’t nobody got time for that on Black Friday.
If you haven’t already, create an account on Love the Sales.
In your account, you can save all your sizes, from shoes to shirts.
You can then shop sales that are only available in your size.
Huge time saver!
22. Be wary of non-expert advice – and influencer ‘ads’
There is a lot of coverage online about Black Friday deals.
Bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers, and other influencers sometimes get paid to recommend deals from brands and retailers.
These are usually labelled as affiliate partnerships, or sponsored post (but not all the time).
It’s great to get inspiration from people with a track record for style, but be aware, that the ‘make-up kit’ deal they say is too good not to buy, might be baloney.
Be wary and take their advice with a pinch of salt.
23. Beware of Black Friday scammers
Black Friday is a scammers paradise.
If you’re downloading a retailer’s app for the big shopping event, make sure it isn’t a fake.
According to The Sun, the top 10 fashion brands have had more than 17 scamming apps each, trying to pass off as themselves and trick unknowing customers.
Look for dodgy signals. For example, does the retailer’s app have the right amount of reviews for its stature? Make sure you’re aware of the retailer you are purchasing from.
Malware protection is a must for online browsers. Security brands like McAfee offer software to protect from cyber threats for as little as £10.
For the store to store Black Friday bargain hunters
1. Check brand quality
Big promotional events like Black Friday are used by some retailers to shift brands and products that aren’t selling.
If you’re not familiar with a brand, whether it’s clothing, electronics or a homeware brand, do your research first!
There might be a reason that an unknown brand’s items are 85% off.
2. Check the lifecycles on tech goods
New games consoles get released every 2 years, a new iPhone every 12 months and a new TV feature every second Tuesday (remember 3D TV’s in your living room? Me neither).
Technology trends change rapidly in today’s world.
Take the Xbox One games console.
Reports suggest that the new edition in Xbox gaming, the ‘Xbox Scarlet’ will be released in early 2020.
So if you see an Xbox One bundle in the Black Friday sales with a 15% discount, be aware that when a new consoles is released, old versions get discounted up to 70%.
If you wait until the release of the ‘Xbox Scarlet’, you could get a new Xbox One for under £100.
3. Create a wishlist
Wishlists are perfect for Black Friday.
Don’t want to get caught up in the buzz? Wishlist.
Don’t want to waste time going through deals you won’t buy? Wishlist.
Don’t want ‘buyer’s remorse’ on a £49.99 bread maker you’ll use once? Wishlist.
A good tip is to list out items you’re looking to buy over the next few months: secret Santas, birthday presents and retail therapy purchases.
Then, if a great Black Friday deal pops up on the list, you know you’re getting something you wanted.
4. Shop smaller, more independent retailers – this is your opportunity to find the young brands of the Twenty-Teens
It’s no secret that big retailers can offer big discounts.
However, Black Friday is a huge opportunity for smaller stores to attract new customers.
More stores are getting involved in Black Friday than ever before.
Last year, we reported a 72% increase in retailers offering Black Friday deals, and we expect there to be more this November.
Keep an eye on your favourite independent shops or designers, as they just might have a list of offers planned for the event.
5. Follow price over percentage (£ vs %)
It can be easy to get drawn in by that hefty 70% off discount, but don’t be fooled!
Some retailers, we’re not naming names, are known for increasing the RRP of a product, just so they can discount it by 70% later on.
This makes it look more of a bargain than it is.
Research different prices of the product to get an idea of what it usually sells for.
This will tell you if the discount is real or if the store had a hiked up RRP to begin with.
6. Eat before you shop
According to Science Daily, you make more impulsive decisions when you’re hungry.
Researchers found that rats will make more impulsive and less rewarding decisions when they haven’t been fed. And that this illogical way of thinking applies to hungry humans too.
Eating before you shop will make you less impulsive! So pizzas all round then.
As a well-known chocolate bar brand would intones “You’re not you when you’re hungry.”
7. DON’T WAIT – Look for Black Friday deals now
Black Friday deals are already happening folks!
Love the Sales tracked a 30% increase in sale products in the first week of November alone.
The competition over Black Friday gets more intense every year, with retailers trying to beat competitors to the punch.
So keep an eye out for early deals.
8. Set yourself a budget
Many Black Friday deals seem tempting, but only buy what you can afford.
We suggest working out what you usually spend on items over the course of a month.
Hold off on spending until Black Friday and you can use that money to get some amazing Black Friday deals.
Here are some great online tools for creating a budget spreadsheet.
9. Check a retailers returns policy
Don’t get burnt on returns.
This goes double for Black Friday.
Make sure whatever you’re buying, you have an ample amount of time to return the product for a full refund.
For example, Sports Direct only offers exchanges or credit notes for items that are bought in store.
Check retailers’ returns policies on their website.
10. Price match promise
A price match guarantee is a retailer that will match a price on a product if you find it cheaper elsewhere.
Price match guarantees aren’t as common these days, but you can find retailers that will offer price matches for Black Friday.
So how do you know which retailer is offering price matching?
Google ‘price match’ or ‘price promise’ and scroll through a list of retailers pages that mention price matching.
Email or live chat with retailers you are looking to buy from on Black Friday. Ask if they are price matching and what are the terms of the price match.
We recommend option 2, as the retailer might have a price match in place, but could exclude it from their Black Friday deals.
Retailers known for Black Friday price matching include:
11. Dress for a marathon, not a sprint
When braving the hustle and bustle of the Black Friday crowds, make sure you wear something comfortable.
It will probably be a long day, so high heels and skinny jeans are probably best kept in the wardrobe.
Get comfortable for the urban walking with a pair of Skechers in the sale. Trainers designed for long walks in mind.
Knowing the UK, it’s bound to be a chilly old day, make sure you wrap up warm with a thick jacket from The North Face sale.
Don’t flash the cash, lots of dodgy dave’s out there. Have a money belt at the ready to keep your valuables safe.
12. Avoid charges when buying abroad
For the international Black Friday shoppers among us, you will be aware of the charges that come with using your card abroad.
If you want to avoid a small charge on every purchase, open an account with a bank that takes no charge.
Monzo lets you withdraw £200 free for every 30 days.
Don’t fall victim to the high charges some banks apply on using your card abroad.
13. Know your history – Use Black Friday for Christmas Shopping
Originally, Black Friday started as an American sales event after Thanksgiving, for retailers to shift stock in the run-up to Christmas.
After Black Friday, and before Christmas, prices rise, discounts get removed and shopping for presents becomes all the more expensive.
Online prices rose by over 20% after last year’s Black Friday.
If you’re an organised bee, using Black Friday to tick off your Christmas gifts will save you money to buy even more presents for loved ones.