As with everything in 2020, Black Friday isn’t going look like the usual shopping frenzy we have come to know. We probably won’t see the same kind of door-buster deals that drive tons of people into local malls and shops, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of ways to make holiday shopping a breeze this year.
We know you’re busy and the pressure to make the ‘perfect’ holiday season is just one more thing to add to your list, so we have compiled our top tips to make your holiday shopping a seamless as possible.
Depending on where you live in Canada you may not feel comfortable going to a mall for your usual day (or days) of holiday shopping and will be turning to more online retailers this year. Keep in mind that you’re not the only one who will be buying online this year and that there may be a higher demand for top-of-the-list items. Retailers may sell out before your family has even finalized their lists. So to avoid being disappointed, start early (like, yesterday). No Christmas eve shopping this year!
Also, a reminder that the demand on shipping services and Canada Post will also be higher, so make sure you factor in extra time to get that special gift.
We have already seen some great deals leading up to Black Friday including up to 50% off select books, stocking stuffers, and décor at Indigo; 40% off at Old Navy; 50% off at Banana Republic; 40-50% off at The Gap; 40% off at American Eagle; up to 50% off at Toys R Us and lots more. If you want to know what kind of specials your favourite retailer is running, sign up for their newsletter and you will often get advance notice of any upcoming sales, and perks like additional percentages off or free shipping.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
When looking for a great deal it is always good to start with a quick search of various retailers to see who stocks what you are looking for, what the average price is, and who has the best price. Check and see if the retailer historically has a sale leading up to the holidays, and what percentage off you can expect. Is the discount on the whole store, or just a few products? Once you have that info you can decide if waiting in hopes of getting a deal is worth it. If it’s something that is likely to sell out we recommend just buying it…the risk is not always worth the reward.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CURB-SIDE PICKUP
If you haven’t been able to find what you are looking for on a national retailer’s site, give your local store a call. Many are willing to do over-the-phone orders and can offer curbside pickup at your convenience. The same goes for the unique small shops in your downtown – they’ll be happy to get your business and often go above and beyond to make sure their customers are satisfied.
ACCESS YOUR ALLIES
On the hunt for something that is sold out everywhere (we’re looking at you PS5)? Let your friends and neighbours know that you are looking. Post on Facebook and get your whole network looking out for you – you’ll be surprised at the number of tips you will get from people who saw one in-store, or heard that more will be released. You never know who will have the inside info that leads you to being a holiday hero.
SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES
This is the year to think outside of the big-box box. Your favourite neighbourhood store may have started an online storefront or offering curbside pickup since the beginning of the pandemic, so when making your list of what to buy where don’t forget to check and see if there is a local business you can support. Here’s a list of 22 of our favourite Canadian crafters and small businesses.
Other ways to support local businesses include joining local holiday buy and sell groups on Facebook, purchasing a gift card to your favourite restaurant to use in 2021 when business might be slow (this includes your favourite chain restaurant – they are often locally owned and operated, so your purchase goes back into the community).
SHOP ONE OF A KIND
The annual One of a Kind Show has gone virtual this year, giving shoppers across the country the chance to browse and purchase from over 700 of the top artisans in Canada. You can find beautiful items for everyone on your list, and shopping online this year will allow you to support artisans who make a lot of their revenue during the show’s two weeks in Toronto and who this year could use the added love.
To yourself, to the retail workers you encounter if you do go into stores, to your postal carrier. It’s 2020, time to give everyone a break.