October 27, 2016 2:05 pm

Black Friday, Cyber Monday: What to expect

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Get your wallets out folks because the two most anticipated shopping days of the year are almost here: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

This year Black Friday falls on Nov. 25, followed by Cyber Monday on Nov. 28. It will be a weekend of deals to help kick off the Christmas shopping season.

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It’s a time when major retailers across the country will be slashing their prices in hopes of enticing shoppers to buy close to home, rather than travelling across the border.

But retailers aren’t just accommodating your wallets; they also have your schedule in mind. While it’s tempting to take the day off from work (1.2 million Canadians planned to be “sick” on Black Friday or Cyber Monday last year), many malls and stores will be offering early and/or extended hours for your convenience.

Because the hours may vary, find out what time your favourite stores open and close their doors ahead of time by consulting their website.

What to shop for and where to find them

According to Statistics Canada, the most popular purchases made during the 2014 shopping weekend are clothing and accessories (52 per cent) and technology (44 per cent).

But if you want to find the best sales, do your homework ahead of time.

READ MORE: Slice Canada’s top 5 picks for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales

Last year, Amazon offered deals for a variety of products including toys, electronics, movies, tools and clothing. The biggest steals, Shopbot reports, were a 42” 1080p LED TV under $200 and 40 per cent off Mattel toys.

Staples was another great place for big discounts, but had limited supply in merchandise. The office supply and tech retailer started early by offering some of their big deals online at midnight, giving online shoppers the advantage to snap up the best discounts with free shipping over $45. Last year shoppers were able to save $100 on a Mac Book Air and $150 on a MacBook Pro and had other price slashes for computers, cameras, software and fitness tech.

Get there (days) early

Many retailers will actually start rolling out their Black Friday deals earlier in the week or offer “sneak peak” days which are small shopping windows equipped with the deals ahead of the actual Black Friday weekend.

Home Depot is one retailer known for its early Black Friday deals and their flash online-only sales – sometimes as early as the Tuesday ahead of the event. Appliances, tools and lighting are just some of the deals offered, as well as free shipping on select items for online customers. According to Shopbot, Home Depot offered a 44 per cent discount on a Samsung 5.2 Cu. Ft. Onyx Front-Loader Washer.

Ebay also holds early deals, most notably during their annual Sneak Peak sale, which was held last year on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Black Friday. One of the best discounts found during the sale were fashion items at 70 per cent off.

The online retailer began their Black Friday sale starting at 8 a.m. and continues through until Dec. 9. What many liked were the deals the website offered on gift cards, which went for 20 per cent off their face value along with free shipping.

The prep

Start researching early on, maybe even months in advance, Shopify says.

According to the e-commerce website, people begin to search for Christmas gift ideas online as early as August.

BlackFriday.com also offers some advice on how shoppers can make sure they’re ready.

READ MORE: Cyber Monday a ‘golden opportunity’ for criminals targeting online shoppers, RCMP warns

First, compare prices and make a list of deals you’d like to check out before heading out. Have a plan and know where you’re going. Also, anticipate long lineups to certain stores.

Next, bring ads with you. Many stores have a policy that say they’ll match or beat a lower advertised price but will require shoppers to show proof before they honour the deal.

And don’t forget to ask for gift receipts if you plan on doing some holiday shopping.

DealNews.com also suggests that shoppers know when to shop in-store versus online. If you feel you might wait in a long line at a certain store, check their website first to see if they’re offering the same (or maybe even better) deals.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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