Talk to any avid bargain-hunter at this time of year and it becomes clear that shopping for deals is not a hobby or a sport, it's an art form.
Heck, they will say, why would you even wait for Friday to find a deal - or leave Canada - or leave your desk at all - when retailers like Amazon.ca, Sportchek and The Bay are already offering steep discounts?
Ken Wong, a Queen's University marketing professor, is among those Canadians who sees no reason to leave home to find a deal. He warns, however, that not every deal is really a deal. Some products are a good buy now, but others will be cheaper after the holiday shopping season.
Where can you find a good bargain now? Mr. Wong suggests:
1. Target competitors
You may be looking forward to Target Corp.'s arrival in Canada, but its Canadian competitors are not. The department and houseware stores that will face the toughest competition from Target will be doing their best to earn customer loyalty now, Mr. Wong says. Look to them for discounts on home decor, small appliances and other household items.
2. Older-model electronics
Smartphones, TV monitors and electronic games have a short shelf life. Electronics retailers will likely be offering discounts to move older items off their shelves, Mr. Wong says. So unless you're dying for the new BlackBerry10, why not pick up an older model smartphone?
3. Trendy clothing items
Some fashions are classic and never go out of style - or on sale. Others are a flash in the pan and need to be moved off clothing racks by January, Mr. Wong says. So if you can find a great deal on a big fur hat or sparkly clutch that might not be around come New Year's, grab it now.
How about the Black Friday what-not-to-do list?
1. Don't leave home
Black Friday is no longer just an American thing. There are tons of sales here in Canada and online. Here's a list of some of the best, as suggested by Flyerland shopping expert Cindy Kelly.
2. Don't go nuts
If you've ignored that last piece of advice and are heading south anyway, do your research and have a plan. Also, check out this Home Cents blog on how not to end up with buyer's regret.
3. Don't expect miracles
This is no longer 2008, so discounts will likely not be as deep as when the recession first hit, Mr. Wong says. "Even in areas where the economy is less robust than others, retailers have been able to gauge what demand would be and adjust inventory levels accordingly," he said.
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