MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As the Black Friday deals immerse shoppers with big, bold and crowded can’t-miss advertising, retail experts highlight which discounts are typically worth the hunt, and which ones aren’t.

Televisions are one of the most advertised and several retail experts, including RetailMeNot, say consumers can find plenty of Black Friday deals at a great value. Twin Cities shopping expert Lisa Baker found 50 different televisions at a discount between two retailers alone: Twin Cities-based companies Target and Best Buy.

“I’ve never seen better prices honestly on TVs until this time of year,” said Best Buy’s Maple Grove store leader Hal Reynolds. “I’ve had people tell me they’ve waited all year to buy a TV for Black Friday.”

Many of those deals are the doorbuster-type sales that customers can only get in-store, starting at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

“We have 15 TVs for under $300,” said Chrissi McShane, who leads Minnetonka’s Target. “We have 50 percent off of video games that are some of our top-sellers this year, great deals on apparel, and then small applicances and home as well.”

RetailMeNot experts say the savings apply to small appliances and some apparel, such as last season’s winter coats. However when it comes to apparel, the discounts might be deeper right before Christmas.

The same is true for toys, although consumers who wait to buy toys often find themselves missing out on the season’s best sellers, as those tend to sell out well before the holidays.

Last year, that hot new toy was the Hatchimals. This year, both Target and Best Buy predict it will be the LOL doll, which comes with surprise accessories.

As for what’s not typically worth the Black Friday hype, RetailMeNot says it will be harder to find the latest video game consoles at a significant discount, as is true with furniture, which usually goes on sale January or over the summer.

Target, Best Buy Boost Convenience In The Age Of Amazon

Some Black Friday shoppers prioritize experience over price. Many don’t shop in-store on Black Friday at all. Target and Best Buy agree they must do more to find customers on all platforms. They each have different strategies of how to get there.

“We have Shipt, which is something where you can order essentials and food online and get it shipped to your house that day,” said McShane.

This will be Target’s first holiday season with Shipt.

“We [also] have online ordering where you can order it online and get it within two days on thousands of items for free shipping, and there’s no minimum order and no membership required,” McShane said.

That, of course, rivals the online giant Amazon. Target hopes to further compete by allowing in-store customers to pick online orders up at guest services, or curbside.

Recent store remodels, revamped home and apparel lines and a mobile point-of-sale that allow customers to check out without waiting in line all add incentive to get customers in the door.

Best Buy also has in-store pickup and a mobile point-of-sale. Customers can ask an employee to scan their items right then and there, and they can then pay using a credit or debit card, then walk straight out.

Best Buy says its differentiator is in owning its expertise.

“Where I think we excel is when you buy this technology, you want to use it and you want to maximize what it can do,” Reynolds said. “And ultimately I think our customers want to have their lives enriched by technology, and I think we do that the best.”

Both Target and Best Buy have doubled down on their toy department this holiday season, following Toys R Us’ closing earlier in 2018.

Christiane Cordero

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