Customers all have expectations for how Black Friday is going to play out, both online and in-store. For many, 29 November is a day they plan for all year…

According to Nathalie Schooling, CEO of customer experience specialists, nlighten, consumers are prepared to spend big.

For most, Black Friday marks the start of their Christmas shopping or allows them to finally get the coveted item they’ve being eyeing all year. Others use the opportunity to upgrade or replace electronics or appliances. Whatever our intentions, we all love a bargain.

Despite the feel-good rush we get from snagging great deals, Schooling warns that all this bargain hunting can quickly translate to buyer’s remorse once purchases are out of their packaging. “It’s easy to be taken in by the shiniest deals or the snappiest advertising, but consumers must be aware of the fact that they are being aggressively marketed to.”

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Reports show that on the first Monday in December, returns can be 79% higher than any other random Monday in the year.

For most, Black Friday marks the start of their Christmas shopping or allows them to finally get the coveted item they’ve being eyeing all year

The pressure to “snap it up” and the increased sense of urgency and FOMO means consumers purse strings may well and truly be wide open, despite intentions to save money and get the best deals.

“On the big day (or really week now, as Cyber Monday and the surrounding days are full of deals), you may be prepared to hit “buy” on even big-ticket purchases without your usual consideration and careful comparison,” says Schooling.

Schooling offers insights and tips on how consumers can take control of their customer experience and bag the best deals this Black Friday:

1. Be prepared for impulse buying

Think of Black Friday as ‘planned’ impulse buying and avoid being sucked into clever advertising. Being prepared, keeping your options open, and having a handle on T&Cs and return policies can help with a smooth customer journey.

2. Stay focused

Many retailers offer Black Friday bait long before the day, giving you sneak peeks of the products or packages that may be on offer, sometimes releasing deals ahead of time. Make sure you have an idea of the brands and products you are interested in before the big day. A lack of focus can lead to confusion and temptation.

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3. Create a wish list

Think about the items you really need or have coveted for a long time and prepare a wish list ahead of the day. This way if you come across an attractive deal, you have already considered your buying decision ahead of time. Give thought to how much you would like to pay and what you would be willing to pay, which features are must-haves and which you could live without.

4. Know your spending limit

As with all aspects of financial management, self-control and discipline are paramount. If you have a spending limit, stick to it no matter how tempting the next storefront appears or how enticing the deals are that pop up once you’ve already spent your budget.

Ask yourself – can I afford it? If I can afford it, do I really need/want it? What else could I spend this money on if I don’t buy this?

5. Be safe

Within the frenzy of Black Friday, there are opportunists and fraudsters who know consumers have their guards down and are perhaps not applying the same due diligence to their purchases or their safety (whether online or in-store).

Pickpockets will be out in force, attracted by the crowds, the shopping bags filled with goodies and the bulging wallets.

Online, scammers will be vying for your money alongside genuine retailers. Be vigilant and check security certificates.  Where possible, pay by methods where you have recourse, like iPay, PayPal and Payfast.

Even with the best intentions, it’s easy to get carried away on Black Friday, but with a little mindfulness and forward planning, you can bag both a bargain and a meaningful customer experience.

QUIZ: What kind of Black Friday shopper are you?

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