Should you buy that new HDTV or hold out until after Christmas? How about that new PS4? Is it better to buy it in a bundle or separate? When do designer clothes go on sale? Is Black Friday really better than Cyber Monday? And is it worth it to wait in that long doorbuster line at 3 a.m. in a turkey coma?
For shoppers during Black Friday and throughout the holiday season, trying to save a dollar or two and still check off everything on your holiday list can be a nightmare. Often, consumers are confused about the deals and sales offered by retailers, who reel shoppers in with flashy doorbuster specials and once-in-a-lifetime prices that will expire before you can even find your reusable shopping bags.
But thankfully, there are experts happy to give advice on how to survive, save loads of money, and relish the holiday shopping extravaganza, like Steve Schaffer, CEO of Offers.com.
“We’re really excited about helping people save money,” Schaffer told IBTimes. “I don’t know how anybody could shop the holidays without a site like Offers.com.”
Long gone are the days of piling up every store circular and sales flyer (though we have some ads here digitally, if you’re more traditional about your shopping). Offers.com allows users to browse and sift through coupons, sales and deals from countless retailers at one easy-to-use site. Schaffer, along with a trusted team of deal hunters, verify the deals and curate them with the shopper in mind to find the best deals and discounts.
“More than ever, I think shoppers are looking for deals. They’re looking for offers,” he said of this holiday shopping season. “There’s five or six fewer shopping days this year because of a late Thanksgiving, so that’s why the sales and deals are starting earlier this year.”
International Business Times picked Schaffer’s brain for holiday-shopping tips, from what days are the best to shop, whether it’s better to shop online or in stores, and exactly what you should buy on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
IBTimes: When are the best deals, really?
Steve Schaffer: It depends on what you’re looking for. If shoppers can make a list and start in advance, the best thing to do is to start in October and start watching and shopping. In terms of the holiday season, it depends on what you want. The best doorbusters for certain things are going to start on Thanksgiving this year.
Schaffer: Thanksgiving to me is a family day. I don’t know that I’m really in a position to tell people not to shop on that day. It turns out it’s more younger people who shop on that day than older people. A lot of people find it really fun. It’s a holiday, but once you’re done with the turkey and you’ve done the holiday thing, shopping can be fun. We recommend people shop online on Thanksgiving as opposed to going to the store.
IBT: Shopping online is better on Thanksgiving?
Schaffer: I think it’s always a better idea to shop online. I buy just about everything online.
IBT: How about Black Friday?
Schaffer: It’s the same. It used to be Black Friday was for in-store and Cyber Monday was for online. It’s now kind of morphed into holiday-weekend shopping. It’s going to start Wednesday and end Monday. Five days of deals, sales and offers.
Is Cyber Monday better than Black Friday?
Schaffer: Again, it depends what you’re looking for. The best thing to do is start with a list of what you’re looking for. Only about half of shoppers make a list. Black Friday, even that Wednesday through Friday and Saturday, tends to be about specific items. They’re more about product deals.
IBT: What about after Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Will there still be savings?
Schaffer: I think the real question comes down to, if the stores keep on the promotional bandwagon, it will keep people shopping continuously. I think the stores will do that.
IBT: So since it’s all about specific products, what should shoppers NOT buy on Black Friday?
Schaffer: I wouldn’t buy name-brand TVs or electronics. The best time to buy those is Super Bowl Sunday.
IBT: On Super Bowl Sunday or after?
Schaffer: On Super Bowl Sunday. It’s a little-known deal fact. It’s turned into the best day. I think I’ve bought two TVs myself on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s the best price ever on particular TV sets.
IBT: What about gaming consoles?
Schaffer: I think their prices are going to fluctuate this entire holiday season. There will be different bundles with different games and packs that they sell depending on the gaming system.
Schaffer: Cyber Monday is a better time to buy clothing because you’re going to find storewide sales and storewide offers.
IBT: What about designer apparel?
Schaffer: For designer clothing, my recommendation is to shop the off-brand stores like Bluefly, 6pm, Haute Look, Neiman Marcus Last Call…you’re going to save the most money.
IBT: Do any deals stand out on Offers.com you’d recommend to our readers?
Schaffer: There’s a great deal right now on a Starbucks Holiday drink card, buy one get one free. It’s selling really well. There are pearl stud earrings from Bloomingdale’s that are $40 (normally $100). Tanga has 50% off Monster headphones, and that’s a really good deal. There’s a Kmart deal for a Hasbro Furby which is $40 at 38% off. Walmart has $20 off an iPad Air. $20 on a $499 item is not a huge amount of money, but it’s $20 less than you’re going to find anywhere else. Dell is going to have a phenomenal notebook on Black Friday for $199.
IBT: What’s the best advice you can give to shoppers?
Schaffer: On Offers.com, the best advice is to sign up for our emails and you’ll get emails with deals in them. But come to the site often so you can watch certain stores and get emails from us from certain stores. My tip is to shop online and start shopping on Wednesday. At least start getting a feel for it.
IBT: What are you buying this season?
Schaffer: I’m looking for some arts and crafts stuff for one of my kids and a chemistry set for my 11-year-old. My 13-year-old will get a gadget of some kind. I’m going to be doing some exploring. I’m still trying to figure out what to buy my wife. Any suggestions?
IBT: The ladies love jewelry, anything from Sephora, ridiculously expensive handbags-- you know the deal.
Schaffer: I think I’m going to follow my own advice and get her something I’m going to get a really great deal on. You can’t go wrong when you get a great deal, right?
Nadine joined IBTimes in July 2011 and is the editor of the Continuous News Desk, which covers trending news. She writes about retail, the fashion industry and pop culture...