By JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — The time has come for big-box retailers to roll out some of their biggest shopping events of the year.
From Walmart kicking things off with its Big Save event on Oct. 11 to Amazon Prime Day and Target Deal Days on Oct. 13 and Oct. 14, everyone will have an opportunity to get a head start on holiday shopping with deals galore.
While it might sound like a win-win for those with the privilege of taking advantage of the deep discounts, it can also be overwhelming without the right guidance.
“Amazon Prime Day seems to be the shopping event most people are excited about,” Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot, an online platform that helps shoppers find the best deals, promo codes and cash back, told ABC News’ Good Morning America.
While experts agree Amazon Prime Day is what many people have their eye on, it’s still a shoppers market and people have an abundance of opportunities to find the very best deals through other retailers.
“With so many people shopping online now due to the pandemic, Cyber Monday will also be a major shopping event,” Kristen Gall, president of Rakuten, a shopping destination that offers cash back, deals and rewards, pointed out to GMA.
Skirboll and Gall have offered their top tips for navigating this year’s sale events successfully:
Sign up for alerts: Sign up for Google alerts and email newsletters and follow brands and retailers on social media to stay in the know on the latest sales and offers, and get access to exclusive deals.
Pay attention to sales on higher-end items: Higher-end items from brands are sometimes hard to come by, especially from brands that don’t typically host sales and discounts throughout the year. If you see a luxury brand or item for sale this holiday season, consider jumping on it.
Do your research and price compare: Always be sure to compare prices at different retailers to ensure you are getting the best deal.
Take advantage of buy-online, pick-up in store offers: If you intend on making a bulkier purchase this year, like a TV for example, consider transacting online using a code or cash-back offer, and picking up curbside to avoid any potential added shipping charges for the heavier item.
Take advantage of timing: The period between Prime Day and Thanksgiving is the sweet spot for holiday discounts. If you have your mind set on specific items, this is the safest time to lock them in before the rush kicks in. Plus, you’re least likely to run into inventory issues and shipping delays.
Make a plan and stick to it: Create a list of must-have items and shop for these items first based on your budget. Once you’ve checked everything off that list, then consider discretionary purchases with what is leftover in your budget.
Pay over time: Many retailers are offering a buy-now, pay-later option to help consumers with financing. Take advantage of these options to pay over time. Just be sure to read the fine print.
Take your time: There will be plenty of deals to take advantage of now through Cyber Monday. Just don’t wait too long in case there are shipping delays or inventory shortages.
Additional resources for successful shopping
Rakuten’s free browser extension automatically alerts you to deals, applies the best promo codes and helps you easily earn cash back.
You also can try RetailMeNot’s Deal Finder browser extension, which is one of the easiest ways to make sure you are getting the best deal out there. It will automatically test and apply codes and cash-back offers for you in seconds at checkout.
“Many stores offer exclusive deals through their apps, saving you up to 15% or more on your favorite items. Stack on the savings by also using cash-back apps and rewards credit cards when shopping,” said Gall.
How to keep safe while shopping this year
While many people will opt for online shopping this year, there are a variety of updated experiences, including virtual fitting rooms and concierge services, which will allow shoppers to avoid large crowds and practice safe social distancing.
“If you have to go inside a store, be prepared,” said Gall. “Wear masks, bring gloves and have disinfectant products on hand. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after any shopping trip, and wipe things you normally wouldn’t think to disinfect, like your keys and mobile phone.”
Skirboll also advises people take advantage of services such as “buy online, pick up in-store” or contactless curbside pickup.
“With curbside being a safe way for shoppers to handle their holiday shopping this year and staying out of stores, it also helps ensure timely delivery of gifts,” she said. “Many retailers, like Target, Walmart, Ulta, Bed Bath & Beyond, are all offering this.”
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