As the official starter for the holiday shopping season, Black Friday is expected to be a frenzy of bargains, but with each passing year there are some elements that change. Our friends at Dealnews feel that the best way to make the most of this annual shopping event is to be prepared. Here are 12 ways in which Black Friday 2013 will be different than previous years.
3D TVs Will Finally Be Affordable
HDTVs are the poster children of Black Friday. But while 3D sets have typically been priced astronomically high, this year 3D TVs will be cheaper than their non-3D counterparts, particularly in the 55" category, which is the sweet spot for these TVs. Price-wise, we expect 55" 3D TVs to hit as low as $425, which would not only blow away last year's November low of $799, but also undercut non-3D sets of the same size by a few dollars. 3D TVs, fad or not, pricing trends say a lot.
There Are New Gaming Consoles (That We Actually Want)
Sorry, Nintendo, but last year's Wii U launch was just a warm up for this year's Black Friday, which will see a new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Unfortunately, scoring a console deal this month will be next to impossible; so, if you find either console at list price, that's about as close to a "deal" as you'll get. Alternatively, you can opt for console bundles, which will pair the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 with extra controllers, accessories, or games at a cheaper cost than purchasing each item individually. Or double down on a PS3 or Xbox 360, which will hit new lows now that their successors have debuted.
Doorbuster Deals Will Trick You into Remaining In-Store All Day
Although most doorbusters can be found online -- sometimes at cheaper prices -- they're still one of the most effective ways to get shoppers to purchase items in-store. Retailers have caught onto this and will now scatter their deals throughout the day in an attempt to keep shoppers in store longer, preferably spending more money. So whereas before you might have seen multiple doorbusters commence at 7 am, this year you'll see them debut at all hours of the day.
More Brick-and-Mortar Stores Will Price Match Amazon
Even with its pricier shipping policy, brick-and-mortar stores still fear Amazon. As a result, more brick-and-mortar retailers will join the Amazon price matching camp. Best Buy and Target have typically price matched with Amazon, and so far this year Staples is one of the new vendors to join the party.
Competing Devices Will Force Roku to Finally Offer Good Deals
Don't get us wrong. We're big fans of the Roku box, but year after year we've been disappointed with the company's modest Black Friday discount, which traditionally hasn't been the lowest price of the year. However, this year Roku is faced with an uphill battle as there are some major new players in the media-streaming industry, one of which is Google's $35 Chromecast. As a result, we expect Roku to offer better deals than its usual Black Friday discount. Roku also now has an extensive line of products ranging from the original Roku to the current Roku 3, which means retailers have stock of previous-gen models ready for discounts, likely making this year the first stellar year for Roku deals.
Surface Tablets Will See Major Discounts
Tablets deals are prevalent most of the year, so it comes as no surprise that these highly-sought after devices rarely see any significant discounts come the holidays. But this year things are different, particularly in the Microsoft camp. Weak sales and a new crop of Surface 2 tablets mean the boys in Redmond need to rid themselves of the first generation of Surface tablets. So in addition to tablet discounts from Microsoft, you can expect to see various retailers slicing prices on their stock of first-generation Surface tablets.
There Will Be More Credit Options for Small Businesses
While most consumers will turn to large retailers for their holiday shopping, there's good news for those who prefer patronizing their local small businesses. Thanks to a swarm of credit card processing apps like Square and PayAnywhere, more small businesses will be able to accept credit card payments at their stores. These apps have made it easier for small businesses to accept credit cards without the need to set up a merchant account with a bank, lease a card reader, or pay a setup fee. That all translates into more and easier payment options for the consumer.
Your Commercial Emails May Get Swallowed by Gmail
If you thought nabbing one of Amazon's lightning deals was difficult before, wait till you try buying one this holiday season. Thanks to Google's new Gmail layout, email sent by marketers can automatically get dumped into your "promotions" box. That means any time-sensitive sales you're tipped off to via email will sit in inbox purgatory until you look for them. Unless of course you disable this feature.
Just "Liking" a Facebook Page Won't Score You That Discount
Today's retailers are social media savvy, or at least they like to think they are. So whether you're getting first dibs on a sale or taking a sneak peak at an early Black Friday ad, chances are liking a Facebook page won't suffice anymore. This year retailers will make customers jump through a hoop or two before offering up any discounts on goods. These hoops may entail subscribing to mailing lists, signing up for membership rewards, or even following them on Pinterest.
You'll Be Shopping Before the Turkey Is in the Oven
Love it or hate it, the holiday creep is here to stay and this year you can expect an even larger number of stores to open on Thanksgiving Day. Sure, there will be people who shake their heads in dismay as Thanksgiving gets swallowed by corporate America, but shoppers have spoken and they want stores to open earlier. Black November, anyone?
Expect More Stores to Offer "Guaranteed Doorbusters"
Doorbusters are ultra-cheap items designed to lure shoppers into stores. But because of their limited quantities, only a handful of customers manage to get them and people are wising up to that fact. So last year, Walmart offered its customers guaranteed doorbusters: if an item sold out, shoppers received Walmart vouchers that allowed them to buy the item at Black Friday prices, and pick it up when the item was back in stock and ready. It may take awhile before this becomes the norm for Black Friday, but we expect more retailers to offer similar vouchers this year.
There's One Less Week Between Thanksgiving and Christmas
With one less weekend to shop this year, consumers can expect to be bombarded with sales and promotions as early as the day before Thanksgiving. In addition, the National Retail Federation found that consumers will be a little more cautious with their spending budget this year. All this means that retailers will have to work twice as hard to get people to spend, and that means bigger-than-life advertising.
Despite these changes in the seasonal landscape, this Black Friday is expected to be bigger and better than years before. HDTVs will hit new lows, select tablets will hit the bargain bin, and more brick-and-mortar stores will be ready to compete with Amazon. If you are anything like us, however, sit back and enjoy that turkey drumstick knowing that you're getting the best of Black Friday and Cyber Monday delivered straight to your screen, without even having to set foot inside a store.
Republished with permission. Louis Ramirez is a Senior Features Writer at dealnews.
Black Friday sale image from Shutterstock.