Black Friday is the name of the American tradition of hosting sales on the day following Thanksgiving, to kick off the Christmas shopping season. However, every year the same question is raised: Is it a good bargain or just a commercial trick?

This year Black Friday will officially be on the 23rd of November, but the sales are expected to start on the early days of the month.

Although, the deals may sound really tempting, a survey made by “Which?”, after tracking prices of the 35 most popular items of personal care, home and tech on sale during the Black Friday weekend over the course of the year, found that 60% of deals on offer during 2016 Black Friday cost the same or even less at another time of the year.

However, Anthony Thompson, the chief executive of Dixon Carphone, says this will not be the scenario in his stores because it prejudices not only the customers, but all the UK retail. He argued: “make-believe promotions and fake prices are just moving sales from December into November and forcing everyone to sell things at reduced margins instead of growing the market”.
Mr. Thompson says that the company works with the manufacturer’s a year ahead to provide the customers with real discounts. He believes that the increase in sales is a result of a gain in market share.

Much has been said in defense and against Black Friday, but they all seem to agree in one thing: Retailers on Black Friday can easily trick you into fake deals but with the right amount of care and preparation, there are good chances of getting yourself great deals!

Here are our top tips to rock your Black Friday shopping:

Six steps to get yourself the best Black Friday deal

1.Plan, plan, plan!

Check what is going to be on sale beforehand. Make a list of products you are interested in and sign up to retailers newsletters to track offers.

2. Check the price history

It is probably a good idea to compare the usual selling price with the Black Friday discounts. Sites such as CamelCamelCamel or Pricerunner can help you find out the price history, the first one will show the pricing data for Amazon products and the second one will give you an average cost across shops.

3. Find out whether retailers will match prices

Make a list of retailers selling the identical products and research the prices online in each one of them to compare the offers.

4. Start early

The intense competition has pushed retailers to start sales earlier and earlier each year. You are likely to find deals from the early days of November until the end of the Black Friday weekend. Moreover, online deals will be available at the stroke of midnight so you don’t have to wait until the high street shops open early in the morning. If you do want to wait and hit the high street be aware that some retailers will be opening earlier than usual.

5. Look at the price, not at the “saving”

Some retailers were found to be exaggerating the discount you are actually getting, it is always best to check the previous price of the product before purchasing it.

6. Check the returns policy

If all of those tips fail and you end up regretting your purchase it is helpful to be aware of the retailer’s returns policy for Black Friday items. Make sure the store has a pledge part-refund policy that can be useful if the price drops on the following days.

Written by: Beatriz Abreu Ferreira