Black Friday promises big discounts and huge deals. But if you're not careful you may spend more than you bargained for.
Retailers pull out every marketing trick in the book to get you to stretch your wallet, or worse, go into debt. Here are some insights into the dirty marketing tricks retailers are preparing for the promotional season.
Retailers raise prices before Black Friday
Black Friday officially begins on November 25th but in the month or so before, many retailers start increasing prices. They do this so that when they discount them during the promotional period, the deals look bigger than they really are.
Here's how it works: if a supplier sells jumpers to a retailer for £10 with the recommended retail price of £30, the retailer makes a margin of £20 profit. But if they have to discount it by 50% (which is what people expect on Black Friday), they'll only make £5. Which is probably not enough to cover their costs. So instead, retailers artificially increase the price to more like £50, so that at half price, £25, they still make a healthy £15 profit.
Last year, this Reddit forum post attracted hundreds of comments from staff working in many shops revealing how they'd be tasked to increase prices the night before Black Friday.
One user said, "I worked at a Gamestop and we used to inflate the price in early November so we could knock the price down for sale [on Black Friday]. Sometimes we just raised the price and didn't lower it."
To make sure you don't end up spending more, make a list of everything you want before the Black Friday promotions begin. Research them now and see how much they cost. You can use online price comparison tools. Then, during Black Friday, compare the prices and see how much you're really saving.
Black Friday is typically known for big discounts on TVs, laptops and electricals. When these products have their prices slashed, how do retailers make money? Often, they try to sell expensive add-ons with high profit margins. For example, laptop cases, or TV insurance. After buying a big discount and getting that feel-good factor, you're more susceptible to influence. Ignore the calls to buy the add-on and see if you still want it in a month's time. It's here that you may end up spending much more than you hoped.
Black Friday Scams
During all the buzz and pressure to get a bargain while they last, scammers take advantage. Gangs set up fake websites and send last minute emails to you saying, "Flash sale! Get this now!"
Watch out. Last year, according to think tank Get Safe Online, the UK lost £1.6 billion to online fraud with Black Friday being the biggest pay day for the gangs.
If it sounds too good to be true, check on a community website such as LatestDeals.co.uk to see if someone else has recommended it, or if the site has been flagged. Watch out for spelling mistakes and look for any customer reviews.
Tom Church is a Black Friday Expert and co-founder of deal hunting community LatestDeals.co.uk