‘Tis the season to be smart, savvy and extremely jolly after snagging a few of the best Black Friday deals in Atlanta. With coupon-clipping annual champions pitted against brave, seasonal bargain-hunters, it’s worth a little extra time to come up with a Black Friday shopping plan to grab the coveted Strategic Saver title (and that $350 4K HDR Smart TV at Amazon and Target). So instead of just flipping through a Black Friday ad in the local paper or online and running out the door, truly do your research. Set your budget, make your list in order of importance, create a Black Friday itinerary to plan your trip, then get ready to rumble. With a little bit of planning plus a few tips from the pros, you will be well-prepared, avoiding brawls or crazy crowds, and back to enjoy leftovers and a movie with your friends and family in no time.
Put those boxing gloves away, champ. Here are a few additional tips for maneuvering Black Friday and finding the best deals in Atlanta:
- Be an early bird (or the second mouse).
Google Trends and Waze released traffic data indicating that it may be worth waking up before the rooster. Black Friday traffic in Atlanta typically peaks between 3 and 5 p.m. with people navigating to most locations. Retail locations tend to see their peak in store between noon and 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
By getting to your planned location early Friday morning, you may catch Black Friday Doorbusters, ample inventory and a great selection. If you need your rest after cooking (or eating) the biggest turkey ever, be the second mouse and get the cheese (and spend less of it) by starting your shopping a little later in the afternoon.
OR you can plan your online shopping spree. Bookmark those pages and start shopping now! Amazon's annual Black Friday deals start as early as Nov. 1 as part of its countdown to the big day.
- There really is an app for that.
Try out Flipp, Dealnews, TGI Black Friday, ShopSavvy AND definitely use store-specific apps. These sites and the corresponding apps offer alerts, notifications and deals to help you navigate Black Friday like a pro. Most of these sites will continue to send you awesome deals throughout the year. Super sweet bonus – sign up to receive emails from the stores a week or two in advance since you might be able to get a deeper savings (check the fine print for blackout days).
Even sweeter – using store-specific apps allows you to locate products in store, check availability, use your loyalty points or membership perks and pay directly in the app to get you out the door quickly. And some apps like -- dare we say it -- AMAZON now include augmented reality visualization so you can see how products will look in your home.
Last, but definitely not least, check out raise.com where you can buy discounted gift cards to make your Black Friday savings add up.
- Create an itinerary and follow it.
Plan out your Black Friday itinerary, follow it closely and keep Google Maps or Waze handy. You could feasibly start Black Friday shopping around 6 a.m. at Atlantic Station, have breakfast or brunch in Midtown (check for Black Friday restaurant specials), continue shopping at Westside Provisions District with lunch closer noon, travel south to Calhoun Premium Outlets or Tanger Outlet Center and be ready to begin again by late afternoon or early evening.
Start the day at Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza, have breakfast or brunch in Buckhead, continue shopping and dining in the Shops Buckhead Atlanta, then travel north to North Georgia Premium Outlets or The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta. Again, you should have your second wind by late afternoon to be able to spend some time at Ponce City Market, Krog Street Market or Paris on Ponce (check hours).
Take a few breaks every now and then to make sure you are still on budget and sticking to your list, not adding to it unless it is an unbeatable deal. You definitely want to check inventory online before heading to the next location. Bring a portable charger and keep relatively healthy snacks and water on hand. Consider this a solo mission, touching base with a friend or loved one by phone until you can meet up for brunch, lunch or dinner (unless the loved one likes you enough to wait in line while you shop). If you don’t want to shop all day, end early so that everyone can visit a restaurant or a local attraction offering a Black Friday special.
- Show some shop small love.
Great gifts don’t just come in big boxes. While checking off the final items on your list, support our local communities by patronizing a local business or brick and mortar. Some small businesses like Atlanta Movie Tours are offering Black Friday tours, while Atlanta Humane Society runs a special Black Furday to name your own adoption fee for 6 month + dogs and cats with any black fur. #ShopSmall on Nov. 24.
So, if you already know all of the Black Friday hacks, already have a Black Friday strategy and itinerary, made your list and checked it twice, then you are ahead of the game and probably addressing your Christmas cards while glamping out. If not, you’ve still got this. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.
PS * Don’t be dismayed if you didn’t start early this year. There’s always next year (and most businesses repeat their deals annually).
Thanksgiving week day-by-day*
- Pre-Thanksgiving: Christmas Decor
- Tuesday – Thursday: Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving preparations and holiday. Focus on and enjoy friends and family.
- Thursday: The entire holiday season is important, so try not to let holiday shopping keep you from being present and in the moment. If you are distracted and absolutely cannot help but start shopping for loved ones, make your jewelry purchases first. According to Adobe Marketing Cloud’s analytics and online marketing data, the best day to buy jewelry is on Thanksgiving Day.
- Friday: Enjoy Black Friday using the tips above or visiting an Atlanta attraction offering a Black Friday deal. According to Adobe Digital Insights, Black Friday saw the largest discounts for computers (15.9 percent on average), followed by TVs (21.6 percent) and toys (17.3 percent).
- Saturday: Support Small Business Saturday.
- Sunday: Rest. :-)
- Monday: Catch Cyber Monday deals. Largest price drops heading into Cyber Monday were for toys with an average discount of 18.8 percent, followed by TVs at 21.1 percent and computers at 14.7 percent.
* Check for leaked ads! They can completely change the game.
Adobe data also suggests that you wait to buy apparel. Their research shows that you can find deals on Nov. 23, but the best day to buy apparel is closer to Dec. 23. So why not wait until January, August or September? If you just cannot wait until January, make sure you are getting the best deal -- an average of 40-percent off (30-50 percent off is a great deal for a few brands, especially with free shipping).
Sheretha Bell loves to shop, eat and dine her way around Atlanta, discovering new experiences and rediscovering treasures. With two boys young and lots of family in the city, quality time and great deals are high priorities.