Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Tips for making the most of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Cyber Week 2013

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days of the year. As we all know, some retailers even start offering deals Thursday evening to get the buying frenzy going. There can be so many offers from so many outlets it can be overwhelming. To help you sort through the deals, Walmart Consumer Expert Claudia Lombana spoke with to offer her top tips for getting the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals while keeping your sanity and enjoying the holiday weekend.

What is the best way to learn about Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals?

Doing a little bit of online research as a consumer can go a long way. Check out websites for your favorite retailers and see what they’re offering not just on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but during the whole week that follows — now called Cyber Week. Consumers can also sign up on retailers’ websites and apps to get notifications of when deals go on sale. For example, you can visit to view the Black Friday circular and get a preview of our Cyber Monday savings. You can do this with various retailers ranging from the U.S. Mint to travel outlets.

Savvy mobile shoppers can expect to find convenient ways to shop and save, including access to their local circulars and rollback items, and store maps to help them plan their Black Friday and Cyber Weekend store visits. Nationwide, mobile purchases are expected to grow by 63 percent this year over last year, with about $35 Billion in mobile purchases made. Consider using your smart phone as a way of organizing your Black Friday and Cyber Monday buying plan — and even buying to avoid the crowds.

What is the benefit of participating in either of these days, versus the other? Is Black Friday better than Cyber Monday, for example, for certain types of deals or products?

Both days are filled with great deals. We’ve seen a real shift in how consumers shop over the past few years. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are evolving with the needs and desires of consumers. Consumers don’t want to be forced to go in store and conversely some don’t want to shop online. So, smart retailers offer the best of both worlds to consumers during the holiday no matter if it’s Black Friday or Cyber Monday. This is especially true at Walmart where customers will find several ways to save online and in-store on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, plus during Cyber week.

What are the most popular items for sale at big retailers such as Walmart on these days? How can people better ensure their chance at getting them?

During the holiday season, the most popular items being purchased are electronics, apparel, toys and jewelry. Most retailers will be dropping prices on these items, but it pays to do your homework and comparison shop. I believe customers can have a better chance at getting the items they want this Black Friday through Walmart’s One-Hour Guarantee. Customers who are in the designated lines at Walmart between 6 and 7 p.m. or 8 and 9 p.m. local time on Thursday, Nov. 28 can purchase top gifts at special low prices with confidence that they’ll receive the item either that night or before Christmas. Guaranteed items include electronics, toys, jewelry and more.

Check out these editors’ choice picks for other Black Friday deals on popular items at top retailers to further plan ahead.

What do people often overlook when they are planning for these shopping days?

Ad match programs are sometimes overlooked by customers. These are programs in which retailers and other outlets will match their price to a lower price for the same item offered by a competitor. This allows people to shop confidently knowing they’re guaranteed the lowest price through a certain time period. Walmart’s Ad Match, for example, covers thousands of items, including toys, electronics and grocery items. If customers happen to find a lower price on an item they already bought, all they need to do is bring their receipt and the competitor ad to the customer service desk at their local Walmart through December 24, while different stores have different policies.

Another tip: go for the free shipping where offered.

Is there anything else you think people should know?

Convenience is key to consumers and most retailers get that. So as a consumer you really hold a lot of the power. You have the ability to shop in a store, on your computer, or on the go via a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) — and retailers are ensuring deals are available on all their channels.

If you don’t want to deal with traffic and crowded stores, you don’t have to: shop mobile. If you prefer to see and touch a product before you buy it, you can do that, too. Today’s smart retailers know that offering maximum convenience and savings to consumers is the way to get ahead.

Let’s not forget that toys are always a big Black Friday and Cyber Monday category. While many retailers offer great deals on toys, Walmart has some offers that will be of particular interest to African-American consumers. Customers will see multicultural toys on our top toys list — curated through our new Chosen by Kids program — including the Doc McStuffins Get Better Check Up Center.

Also, Walmart exclusively offers the Positively Perfect line of dolls, created by Dr. Lisa Williams. The line includes African-American and Hispanic dolls that reinforce a positive self-image among all young girls. They are really wonderful and inspiring. So we hope readers of will check them out!

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter @lexisb.