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TMCNet:  Planning crucial for Black Friday, Cyber Monday

[January 03, 2013]

Planning crucial for Black Friday, Cyber Monday

GREENSBORO, Jan 03, 2013 (News & Record - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- She tells herself every year that she is not getting out there.

Is Trish Naylor crazy It's 3 a.m.

Starbucks isn't even open.

And then there are the crowds. One hundred people rushing to get that 40-inch flat screen TV for under $200.

It's madness. Black Friday madness.

Naylor looks through the circulars. And begins to change her mind.

Well, that's a good deal.

Oh, I like that.

Maybe I can just shop for a little while.

Naylor says she is a marketer's dream come true.

And just like that, she is headed to meet her friend at Target.

Naylor says it's important to have a shopping plan.

Here's her strategy: l Go with a positive attitude and sense of humor.

"There are things I want to get and things I hope to get. But if I don't (get them), I'm not going to get upset about it, because that's how it goes," Naylor says.

l Go with a friend.

The friend can hold your place in line while you run to the bathroom.

You also increase your chances of finding items if you disperse.

"The big-ticket items are not where you think they are," Naylor says. "They're going to be on the other side of the store because they want you to go throughout the store." l Pack water and snacks.

When shopping becomes a battle of survival of the fittest, you need sustenance.

l Run for the big-ticket items first, grab a cart later.

"You will see people dragging and pushing (their items) with one foot. But you got it! And if you brought your friend with you, one of you can stay with the things, and the other can run for the cart," Naylor says.

l Want more deals and fewer people Go back around 8 a.m.

By then, Naylor says, a lot of the early birds have gone home. Last year she returned to Target after 8 a.m., and noticed a mostly empty store. She stocked up on a lot of stocking stuffers and teacher gifts.

"When you can get pj's for your kids, filler gifts or girlfriend gifts for $5, that's a good buy," she says.

But most important , Naylor says attitude is everything.

"Go happy, or stay home." Cyber Monday But wait.


You don't have to leave home at an ungodly hour or face throngs of shoppers to get a good deal.

Sheri Bridges, the faculty director of the Center for Retail Innovation and a marketing professor at Wake Forest University, says more people are doing their holiday shopping online.

"They are deciding to stay at home and stay in their bunny slippers and pajamas and shop from the comfort of their recliner," she says.

What's more, Bridges says, those retailers that used to start special sales on Cyber Monday -- now they are launching them the day after Black Friday.

Cyber Monday, the marketing term for the Monday after Black Friday, was created in 2005 to encourage people to shop online. Shop.org predicts online holiday sales will grow 12 percent over last year.

This year, for the first time , the retail blog released an online holiday sales forecast.

Matthew Shay, the president and chief executive officer of the National Retail Federation , said he doesn't expect the trend to change anytime soon.

"In addition to enhancing the site experience, retailers have spent the year investing in optimizing their mobile and social platforms -- just what holiday shoppers are looking for," Shay says.

Bridges says online deals are as lucrative as the Black Friday deals at stores .

"I think retailers are doing a ... better job of recognizing there's a significant part of the population who still wants the deals, but don't want the hassle of the crowds and the waiting, so they're offering fantastic deals online," she said.

There's a method to the online madness, too, though. Online shoppers should be as prepared as the Black Friday shoppers, Bridges says.

She shares these tips for online holiday shopping: l Streamline the process. To quickly check out the best deals, Bridges recommends these websites: Dealio.com, Bradsdeals.

com, Cybermonday.com and Cybermonday2012.tv.

"Let the deal sites do the work for you," she says.

l Check out the larger retailers known for wooing consumers with big deals: Target, Best Buy, Amazon and Wal-Mart.

l Decide early whether you are after specific products or good deals.

"That way you won't end up with an underwater camera that's (turned) off 80 percent of the time," Bridges says.

l Shop early.

"Just as items are limited in the bricks-and-mortar stores, so too are the items online," Bridges says. "The early people will get the best deals." l Look for free shipping. Bridges says to look for coupon codes offering free shipping or discounts. She recommends Retailmenot.com She also advises asking if an item could be shipped free to a store, where you can pick it up.

Contact Tina Firesheets at 373-3498, or tina.firesheets@news-record.com ___ (c)2013 the News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.) Visit the News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.) at www.news-record.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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