Love it or hate it, Black Friday 2011 is just a few days away. While others debate the merits of having a quasi national holiday dedicated to rampant consumerism, Let's take a look a the ways technology can help you successfully play the rough and tumble game known as Black Friday.
The key to a successful Black Friday play calling is to carefully plan how you are going to attack the madness. Whether you take the divide and conquer approach or a more concentrated store by store attack, gone are the days that you have to wait until Thanksgiving morning's paper gets delivered to begin strategizing.
Most major retailers have already leaked their Black Friday ads and these ads are easily findable online. You can browse the flyers right here on WISHTV.com or visit these comprehensive shopping sites:
BlackFriday.com – A very thorough website with all the Black Friday sales from both physical and online merchants. Shopping lists, news, and insider analysis provide the complete lowdown on all the deals, steals and bargains.
Fatwallet.com - A favorite year round, Fatwallet.com specializes in coupon codes for online merchants and their special Black Friday section lists are thorough and easy to navigate.
Slickdeals.net – Another year round site, Slick Deals is a social shopping community where members share and rate both local and national deals. Slick Deals is fantastic for finding bargains that you may have otherwise missed.
Taking To The Field
Once you have your strategy set, the next step is to preload your smart phone with mobile apps to use while you are actually shopping that will not only help you make smart decisions but can possibly save you even more money on Black Friday.
TGI Black Friday (Android / iPhone)
The TGI Black Friday app crams every single Black Friday ad into your phone for easy browsing on the go. Not only will this app remind you of things you may have forgotten, but it is a crucial tool to use with price matching merchants.
Coupon Sherpa (Android / iPhone)
A useful app year round, Coupon Sherpa allows you to track money saving coupons on your phone and then scan the coupons at check out. Many merchants offer additional discounts on Black Friday when you use coupons from this app.
Shop Savvy (Android / iPhone)
Shop Savvy allows you to scan the bar codes of items you are considering purchasing and then does comparison shopping for you by searching their large database of local, national, and online retailers. While probably not that useful on door buster specials, this app is key to making sure you get the best deal on everything else you purchase on Black Friday.
Prepare to be Intercepted
Anybody who has ever participated in Black Friday shopping events understands that the largest amount of their time is going to be spent waiting. You wait to get in the store to snag some door busters and then you wait in line to pay for your fantastic finds. E-Commerce companies such as Gilt, Amazon, and HSN understand that the time while you are waiting in the checkout line silently simmering in frustration is the perfect time to pitch you similar products at better prices. If you are signed up for any of these retailer's programs expect to be bombarded with text messages right about 6am – the time they have calculated that their target audience will be standing in seemingly endless check out queues – with unadvertised specials specifically tailored to get you to buy from them and leave your physical store purchases behind.
No matter what your personal feelings are towards the Black Friday shopping phenomena, you cannot deny that there are some fantastic bargains available for those who dare to play the game. By using the technology already at your disposal, you can ensure that your Black Friday experience isn't a shutout.
C Robert Dillon is the digital developer at WISH-TV in Indianapolis and serves as a technology consultant and on-air contributor to WISH as well as the technology expert and host of the Taming Technology segment on Indy Style. Opinions presented are those of the author and not necessarily of LIN Media, WISH-TV, or Indy Style. You can keep up with Rob on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ .
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