The Definitive Shopper’s Guide to Online Black Friday Deals

Published: November 18, 2017 - 11:56am EST

Black Friday banner

Black Friday is always such a big deal – but why? How did the prominence of online shopping turn Black Friday into an event that everyone needs to hop in front of their laptop for? We’re going to answer all of your Black Friday-related questions, and give you the best tips you need to ensure you’re actually saving money this year, and know the best websites to shop on.

Before you shop, check out all we’re going to cover in this article, including:

  • What Black Friday is and why businesses offer discounts
  • Tips for getting the best Black Friday deals
  • 5 sites that always offer Black Friday discounts
    Walmart | Amazon | Best Buy | Target | NewEgg
  • How to know if you’ve found a good Black Friday deal

Read on to make sure you make the best choices this Black Friday, and don’t get caught up in phony deals and discounts!

What and when is Black Friday, and why do businesses offer deals?

Black Friday is the day that follows American Thanksgiving each year, during which retailers offer promotional deals and sales, and typically offer longer shopping hours at their physical store locations, to mark the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Black Friday takes place on November 24th in 2017. Because many retailers change their store hours specifically for Black Friday, it can start as early as 12:00 a.m. on the 24th, and end as late as 2:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Interior of a large mall

Depending on the type of business, there are various reasons why a business would offer Black Friday promotions. It helps to convince people to make purchases for their holiday shopping at their store rather than at others, and helps sell off summer/fall inventory before the winter shopping season.

Black Friday deals are also a great way to get customers interested in a retailer’s products before the holidays, as the month of December is often a month within which many consumers spend a lot of their money.

Woman riding mall escalator with full shopping bags

5 tips for getting the best deals on Black Friday

1. Don’t start this process on Black Friday – start earlier.

If you’re waking up that morning and just browsing through sites, you probably won’t come out of Black Friday having saved any money at all. Make a list of the products you know you want to buy, so you don’t get sidetracked when looking through websites. Think of a budget you want to stick to, and what you would be willing to pay for items you want, but don’t really need.

2. Use a “deal alert” website as a starting point.

Online deal alert websites such as SlickDeals.net are great starting points to save you hours of browsing through site after site looking for the perfect deal. These websites will let you search for products, and see if any website is offering a deal on the typical retail price.

SlickDeals.net daily deals and offerings

3. Know what you want to buy beforehand and check the prices.

You’ll also want to make note of the prices of the items you want most weeks before Black Friday; just because a website advertises something as a deal, it doesn’t mean that it is! You’ll want to know the prices of the main things you’re looking for beforehand, and focus on the key things you want to buy so you don’t end up filling up your online cart with a bunch of things you don’t really need. You’ll also know not to spend more money than you should if the advertised price isn’t really that low.

4. Give yourself time to compare products on multiple websites.

If you have the time, once you find something you like, make sure you check out its price on multiple sites. You don’t want to just buy the first thing you see, because if it’s a popular item this year, it might be offered even cheaper on another website that is trying to be competitive. There’s no harm in quickly searching the price of the same item on multiple sites.

5. Always make sure you are using a secure, encrypted website.

There is no point to saving a ton of money on Black Friday if you get taken for an online scam. Make sure you are using only websites with proper SSL encryption, and don’t give away your personal information to an unsecure source. Make sure you see the “lock” image in the page URL when paying, and that your payment page begins with the prefix: https (the extra "s" means "secure").

Secure webpage URL prefix

5 sites that offer Black Friday discounts

These websites are some of the biggest retailers that offer the best Black Friday deals this year in 2017. If you want to find some more of your own, check out websites like this one that show you individual items on sale at specific stores. You can also try Googling “best black Friday deals” to find great sites that list sales for you!

1. Walmart

Walmart logo

Walmart.com has a little bit of everything for you and your home, and they are notorious for bringing it during Black Friday. You can get great deals in any department, which is great for anything missing from your home, and for your holiday shopping for any person.

2. Amazon

Amazon logo

Amazon.com is one of the biggest online retailers, and offers you everything, as they would say, “from A to Z!” You can find virtually anything, for prices often lower than what you find in retail stores, and discounted even further thanks to Black Friday. Many of Amazon’s biggest alternatives also offer great Black Friday discounts!

3. Best Buy

Best Buy logo

BestBuy.com sells the best in electronics and home entertainment, and generally goes crazy on Black Friday. They offer amazing deals, and since items there are generally a bit more expensive, it’s great to get a deal.

4. Target

Target logo

Target.com is another great retailer that offers Black Friday deals and discounts on many household items, including clothing. If you want an amazing deal on everyday items you purchase anyway, check out Target on Black Friday.

5. Newegg

Newegg logo

You’re shopping online – that probably means you are tech savvy. If you’re into tech gadgets, Newegg.com is the website for you. It has everything you can think of from Assassins Creed Origins to the Z370 Intel Gaming Computer Motherboard!

5 questions to ask to know if you’re getting a good deal

1. What price is listed based on a cursory search?

Once you find something you think is a good deal, do a quick search on other websites for the same item and see what price they are offering. There’s a chance you may be able to find it for an even lower price!

2. What was the price two weeks ago?

If you had the time to look for the items you were interested in before Black Friday, make sure to note the prices. That way, you’ll know for sure if the price the website is advertising is a deal you should jump on.

3. Would you pay this price on a normal day?

Think carefully about this question, because it takes more thought than you might originally think. When a business advertises a sale, and especially when they tell you how much money you’re saving, it can make you think you’re saving more money than you actually are. If you think that’s roughly the same price you’d pay for that item on any other day, then it may not be as amazing of a Black Friday deal as advertised.

4. Are you only getting this deal if you’re buying other things you don’t need?

If the website you’re shopping on requires you to buy multiple items to receive a discount, then chances are you aren’t actually saving money; in fact – you’re spending more money than you originally intended.

5. What do you have to pay for shipping?

So you see a good deal, but are you paying more than $10 for shipping? If so, then the website has likely jacked up the price of their shipping fees to compensate for some of the discounts they are giving you. Make sure you’re not being taken for a ride, and know what the shipping costs are going to be before you start browsing the deals.

 

Now you’re a Black Friday pro – and you’re all set to master your shopping this holiday season. If you want some more tips, check out the helpful articles we have on online shopping, and on getting discounts while shopping online!

Support TechBoomers

TechBoomers offers free articles that teach people how to use technology to make their lives easier (and more fun!). To support our work, some of our content contains links to websites that pay us affiliate commissions when our users visit them through us and make purchases. Learn more about how this works.

Add your comments below. We'd love to hear from you!