Black Friday deals
Top 15 shopping tips for Black Friday deals
By Ellie Simmonds
Article 6 of 8
Top 15 shopping tips for Black Friday deals
Tempted to pick up some Black Friday deals this year? These 15 tips will help you stay ahead of the mayhem and shop like a pro.
Before you plunge into the pandemonium of Black Friday, use our expert advice to get ahead of the game.
1. Research the products you want beforehand
It's no use grabbing a bargain if the product's no good. Sales season often sees shoppers battling over items we wouldn't recommend at all. In 2016, nearly one in five (18% of) Black Friday shoppers didn't read any reviews of the products they bought beforehand.
It pays to do your research. We've got lab test results for thousands of products, so use our reviews to find out which products are best for you and your budget.
- Download the Which? reviews app to find out whether the product you're looking at is a dud or a delight.
- Check out our lists of the top TVs, laptops and other tech products and best coffee machines, vacuums and other home products to look out for on Black Friday, as well as the products to avoid.
2. Be wary of unusual brands
Samsung and Sony are known for their TVs, but what about Polaroid and Blaupunkt? Dirt cheap deals are everywhere on Black Friday, but just because a TV has 4K and HDR plastered on the box doesn't mean it's going to have as good a picture as a Best Buy model.
We're not saying every brand you've never heard of is bad, but there's a reason why some are household names and some only ever crop up in a sale. The odds are, if we haven't reviewed devices from a certain brand then they aren't worth buying.
3. If you're shopping for tech, know the lifecycles
Most technology, including smartphones, TVs and tablets, is released on a one-year cycle, so you only need to wait 12 months before there's a shiny new device to get excited about.
Big tech companies will do their best to tempt you into buying their latest release, but the forgotten device celebrating its first birthday could still be more than adequate, and it's also far more likely to be on sale.
- Our Black Friday 2019 guide rounds up all the best deals our experts have spotted so far.
4. Research your favourite products' price history
There are useful web tools you can use to check how much a product has actually been sold for previously so you can work out whether the 'sale' price really represents good value.
- Our investigation found that 95% of Black Friday products aren't the cheapest price of the year
5. Make a list of different retailers selling the same product
The rush in activity on Black Friday can cause websites to crash and retailers to run out of stock. If this happens while you're trying to buy a product, having a pre-prepared list of stockists will mean you can try others so you don’t miss out.
6. Find out whether retailers will match prices
Some retailers, such as John Lewis, will match prices on Black Friday deals (but usually not with online-only stores such as Amazon or AO.com).
Most other shops don't have price-matching policies, but they may agree to refund the difference if you challenge them about a price drop soon after you’ve bought something.
7. Set up online accounts in advance
Last year, many websites slowed to a crawl on Black Friday and popular deals sometimes sold out, so you'll want to get in and out as swiftly as possible. Open online accounts with your favourite retailers, pre-enter your payment and shipping details and save them to your account so you can complete purchases quickly once deals are live.
Plus, if you know what's going to be on sale beforehand, it's easier to check if it's a good offer or not. Sign up for your favourite retailers’ newsletters, ‘like’ their Facebook pages and register for Twitter alerts, as they’ll be keen to publicise their best deals.
8. Create a wishlist
Some websites let you set up a wishlist for all the things you want to buy. Having a pre-created list makes it easier to see when the price drops, which is especially useful on Black Friday when big websites will be flooded with deals on things you don't want.
Rather than trawling through every product on sale, you can click in to your list to see whether anything you have your eye on is on offer.
9. Start your Black Friday shopping early
These days many retailers start launching deals a week or two before Black Friday, so you might not need to wait for the day.
However, if you're planning on hitting the high street on Black Friday itself, remember the best deals are likely to be snapped up quickly - especially big-ticket items.
Make a note of opening times for different shops on Black Friday as they may let you in earlier than usual, and plan which shops you want to visit in order of priority.
10. Earn as you spend
If you're splashing out on a big purchase (or several), check whether you could be getting something back in the process.
Cashback sites Quidco and Topcashback both offer deals at more than 4,000 retailers - and it's free to sign up. But don’t let the lure of cashback lead you towards a poor-value product. Think of it as a bonus, rather than using it as your starting point for deciding what to buy and where from.
An easy way to boost to your cashback is to pay with a credit card that rewards you for your spending, whether that's in airmiles, retail vouchers, or money back. Remember to pay off your bill in full each month to avoid interest charges.
- Find out more about cashback credit cards
11. Shopping in-store on Black Friday? Use your phone, too
If you're planning on braving the high street this Black Friday that doesn't mean you need to neglect the online stores. As long as you have a data connection on your smartphone you can be in Currys and on Amazon at the same time. Having access to websites means you can reference prices to make sure you're getting the best deal in store.
12. Look at the price, not the 'saving'
Don't assume a deal is worth it just because it claims to offer a big saving.
Offers like ‘was £100, now £50’ often exaggerate the discount you're actually getting. We found 13% of sale shoppers in 2017 didn't research the prices of their products at other retailers before buying.
- Find out how to check if a Black Friday deal is real.
13. Check the returns policy
If you've bought in-store, you can only return non-faulty goods for an exchange or refund if the retailer has a returns policy. Almost all shops do, but they're not required to by law.
Buying online gives you more rights: you have 14 days from the date of delivery to cancel an order, and a further 14 days to return it for a full refund. You should also get the original standard postal costs back.
Many shops offer extended returns periods in the run-up to Christmas - handy if you're buying a gift. Check whether the policies entitles you to the actual money back or just a store credit/exchange.
- Find out more about your rights on Black Friday deals.
14. Consider buying online and picking up later
Some retailers, such as Argos, will hold your product for seven days. This means you can go and collect it after the Black Friday shopping crowds have dispersed and avoid paying delivery fees.
15. Don't forget about Cyber Monday
Historically, Black Friday was for hitting the high street and Cyber Monday was when you could go online for some top deals. Now, more money is spent on the internet than in store on Black Friday, but that doesn't mean you should ignore Cyber Monday.
Some retailers, particularly those focused on computing, will have deals on laptops, desktop PCs, printers and more. If you didn't get the product you wanted on Black Friday then keep checking over the weekend and on Monday to see more deals.
- See all the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals in our Black Friday guide.