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Every year, Black Friday is a battleground where retailers vie for consumers’ holiday cash.
You probably know the standard tactics: tinkering with store hours, offering amazing “doorbuster” deals for the first people in line, and price-matching restrictions. And you’ve probably heard of Cyber Monday. But online retailers try to compete with physical stores on Black Friday too.
This year, things might be even more competitive, according to a story in The New York Times last weekend. Some retailers are bringing a new weapon to the Black Friday wars that could mean both risks and rewards for consumers: mobile deals and apps.
Companies like Amazon are encouraging people to use price-comparison apps (hoping to steer traffic to their own products) while others are offering deals only appearing on cell phones. Traditional retailers, of course, are fighting back. Consumers have to be extra careful to avoid getting caught in the crossfire and hit with higher-than-necessary prices.
For instance, at least one store will try to hide barcodes. According to the Times…
“Best Buy, already acquainted with the sting of online price-comparison apps, declines to display standard bar codes on some products so they cannot be easily scanned by smartphones.”
Guess you’re just supposed to take them at their word when they say “best buy.” If you think that’s underhanded, you can skip shopping there or plan ahead by looking at competing prices in ads before leaving home. (Check out 3 Tips to Get the Best Prices on Black Friday – Right Now for ads and comparison sites.)
FatWallet’s Black Friday iPhone app can help find Black Friday deals others are reporting, and lets you view and save custom lists of retailers’ Black Friday ads. You might also score mobile exclusive deals through Shopkick (partnered with Macy’s, Toys R Us, Target, and others), an app for iPhone and Android. Walgreens also announced exclusive mobile coupons of up to $5 through its app for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. Other retailers’ apps might make similar offers, so download them before you load up the shopping cart.