Was that Black Friday deal really a deal?

On the 25th of November it was Black Friday and every store was offering some form of discount, but are you really saving when you get the discount? As a consumer and a business owner, how do you know when a deal is really a good deal?

As a consumer and a business owner, how do you know when a deal is really a good deal?

As a consumer, there are deals where you get 50% or 20% off the selling price. But sometimes if you have been following that product for months, you might notice that the price increases just before Black Friday and a discount is applied against this price. The price you end up paying is the same price if you had purchased the product a few months in advance. Say for example, you want a TV. 3 months before Black Friday, the TV is R5000. 1 week before Black Friday however the TV is R6500. On Black Friday, a 20% discount is applied to the TV, and it is now R5200, which is basically the same price as 3 months prior. The lesson here is if you are looking for genuine Black Friday deals, it’s best to start a few months in advance and to track the price of the items you are looking for.

As a business owner, are there products that you can procure at a reduced price? Especially with international digital products, have you tracked these to obtain a reduced pricing. For example, Xero, the accounting system is providing 3 months at 50%. Make sure you do the research on the pricing and track the products and you are sure to get a good deal.

The second lesson for getting the best deals for Black Friday, is to do your research on the product or service that you are buying, especially if you are buying electronic items. In 2016 we bought a TV that was R2000 off the selling price. On Black Friday, I did research on the model in other stores, and it seemed like a good deal. So, we bought this TV, and everything is going well until I bought my parents a TV the year after. And this TV was slightly smaller, but the picture quality was much better than our TV. It turns out that the TV I purchased had old software and could not service some newer streaming services like Disney Plus. My first mistake here is that I made an impulse buy: I only researched TVs in the week of Black Friday, and I didn’t do proper research about TV’s. I also didn’t look at the prices months ahead of time to understand the TV market and what was out there and the prices of the products. In the end I could have bought a cheaper TV with better software. 

If we were to apply this to a Small Business setting, you need to fully understand what you are buying. Especially when it comes to digital products. Firstly, will you use all the features of the product? Does this product or service meet the needs of the business? Is it something your business will make good use of? Remember a deal is only a deal if you use the product fully.

It’s best to have a plan and do research on what exactly it is that you want to buy. If you are impulse buying, then the deal you think you are getting might not really be a deal.

It’s best to have a plan and do research on what exactly it is that you want to buy.

One trap you should be aware of is if you are buying other things on Black Friday. Let’s say for example something like dishwashing liquid is on special. Dishwashing liquid is a household necessity. It’s not ridiculously cheap but reasonable, say 20%-30% cheaper. You then drive to the store to buy this dishwashing liquid. You then see something else that’s on special that you would not have bought if you did not enter the store. This impulse buying trap is something that retailers and companies are aware of. The design of stores and websites are optimised for consumers to make these unplanned purchases. So that saving that you think you are getting from buying dishwashing liquid can cost more than you planned on spending. The last lesson here is before making unplanned purchases, thinking deeply about what you are buying and whether it is worth it. On the converse side of this when making sales within your business, you can use this loss leader strategy to provide bundles of value and increase sales. Use discounts to draw people to your website then bundle it with other services for additional value for the customer.   

Black Friday can be fun and it’s possible to get some really good deals. Some of the best deals I got were a year’s supply of coffee and a R2000 per annum saving on an online yoga subscription. It’s best to have a plan, do research and consider the full costs of all deals. Also, increase value to your customers through bundled deals and increase your sales.

 What has been your best or worst sale or purchase that you’ve made in the name of Black Friday? Let me know in the comments below.

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