Columbus, OH (November 17, 2017) – In 2016, an estimated 99 million people braved the crowds to find deals on Black Friday, while others shopped online from the comfort of their homes. According to Adobe, Black Friday 2016 was the first day to generate more than a billion dollars in online sales from mobile devices, with smartphones accounting for 45 percent of online page visits and 24 percent of total sales.
Whether you choose to hit the stores or do your holiday shopping from the couch, BBB advises consumers to have a plan and protect their personal information.
BBB Holiday Helper is an online resource that has tips and resources for those who will be doing holiday shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend and beyond. Before hitting the stores or turning on your laptop, here are some Black Friday tips to consider:
Tips for shopping in-store:
Create a budget and stick to it. Consumers should determine what they can afford without maxing out credit cards and emptying checking and savings account. Celebrate the season without leaving yourself thousands of dollars in credit card debt to be paid off for months.
Before heading out to shop, make a list of who you will be shopping for this holiday season. Try to limit it to the people who are the most important in your life.
Consider a gift exchange between friends, family, or co-workers. Gift exchanges such as “Secret Santa” allow everyone in a larger group to give and receive a gift, but everyone is only responsible for one gift.
Start looking for possible gift ideas ahead of time. Browsing a few websites allows shoppers to pinpoint which specific items you might buy, see what stores have it and compare prices between similar gifts and the stores that carry them. Also, you are more likely to feel pressured to buy something that is too expensive or not on sale if you wait until the last minute to start looking.
Try to limit your shopping time to an hour or two. This reduces the amount of time consumers have to make impulsive purchases.
Consumers on a budget should not feel pressured to spend more than they can afford. It’s always nice to show people how much they mean to you, but no one should give you a hard time for being responsible and budgeting yourself.
Tips for shopping online:
Know the advertiser. Some of the best deals are only available online, but be careful. It’s easy for a fake site to mimic a famous retailer’s website, so make sure you are shopping with a legitimate site. Check out retailers at bbb.org before you shop.
Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its web address should start with “https://” and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page.
Be a savvy shopper. When shopping online, be sure to take your time, and read the fine print before submitting your order. Look for the return policy; although many online orders can be returned for a full refund, others have restocking fees. Some items cannot be returned; know before you buy.
Think before you click. Be especially cautious about email solicitations and online ads on social media sites. Many sketchy retailers advertise great deals or trendy clothing that don’t measure up to the promotional hype.
Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. Offers on websites and in unsolicited emails may offer free or very low prices on hard-to-find items. There may be hidden costs or your purchase may sign you up for a monthly charge. Look for and read the fine print.
Beware of phishing. Phishing emails can look like a message from a well-known brand, but clicking on unfamiliar links can place you at risk for malware and/or identity theft. One popular scam claims to be from a package-delivery company with links to “tracking information” on an order you don’t remember making. Don’t click!
Shop with a credit card. In case of a fraudulent transaction, a credit card provides additional protections; it’s easier to dispute charges that you didn’t approve. Debit cards, prepaid cards or gift cards don’t have the same protections as a credit card.
Keep documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page or email confirmation until you receive the item and are satisfied. Be sure to know and understand the return policy and keep this documented with your purchase records.
Keep a clean machine. Install a firewall, antivirus, and antispyware software. Check for and install the latest updates and run virus scans regularly on your computer, tablet, and smartphone.
BBB Rolls Out ‘Holiday Helper’ Website In Time For Thanksgiving Weekend
Columbus, OH (November 16, 2017) – Thanksgiving is a week away, and many are already starting to plan their holiday shopping. Whether you are purchasing gifts in-store or online, BBB encourages consumers to do their research and plan ahead with BBB’s Holiday Helper.
BBB Holiday Helper is a one stop shop with tips and trends for Thanksgiving weekend and beyond. Following Turkey Day is Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and #GivingTuesday – are you prepared?
According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, consumers say they will spend an average of $967.13 per person during the holidays this year. Compared to 2016, that number is up by 3.4%, meaning that shopping will most likely be busier than years before.
Visit BBB’s Holiday Helper today to get started and stay tuned for more information coming from your BBB throughout the holiday season. If you are already beginning to shop or donate to charitable organizations, here are some tips and trends to keep in mind throughout the next few weeks:
Gift Receipts: Always ask for a gift receipt in case you need to return or exchange the item later.
Warranty Information: Inquire about the store’s return policy before purchasing. Also, be sure to pass along any information about returns, exchanges, repairs and warranties to the person who will use the item.
Research: Read product reviews, check bbb.org for Business Profiles, look at the sales flyers and ads, compare prices and look for early promotions and “flash sales.”
Mobile Security: With so many shoppers using their mobile devices to research and make purchases, it’s important to have a secure device. Be sure you’re using the recently updated version of apps and operating system on the phone. Also, actively manage your location services, Bluetooth, microphone and camera to make sure apps use them appropriately.
Public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi is vulnerable to thieves and fraudsters looking to steal your info. When in stores or restaurants, avoid using banking or other apps that access sensitive personal information.
Email Phishing: With all the promotional emails received during the holidays, scammers will be out in full force. It’s best not to click on links from senders you don’t recognize. You can also hover your mouse over links without clicking to see if the address is really taking you to where it says it is. Also, check the reply email address. The address should be on a company domain. Watch for look-alike domains as well.
Interest-Based Advertising: As you browse the web or use your favorite store’s app, you might notice ads personalized to you, sometimes based on your previous web searches. This is called Interest-Based Advertising, which is often signaled by Ad Choices in the corners of ads. If you want to opt out of receiving this type of advertising, download the AppChoices app or visit youradchoices.com.
Back-up Your Data: Have an online backup option in case your device is attacked by hackers. You do not want to lose all your family’s information and memories.
Look Out for Scams: If you suspect a scam, check out BBB Scam Tips to learn more (bbb.org/scamtips) or report scams to BBB Scam Tracker.
Charity Disclosure: Check out give.org to find BBB Accredited Charities that have fully disclosed information to BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance. Although participation is voluntary, you may want to be cautious of charities that don’t disclose requested information to BBB.
What’s In a Name: Be on the lookout for name similarities. Dubious charities often pick a name that sounds like a more famous charity. Before you give, be sure you have the exact name of the charity you want to support. Learn more about charitable giving at give.org.
Give a Guide: Request a free Holiday issue of the BBB Wise Giving Guide to be sent to a friend or family member this giving season! The guide features evaluation results for thousands of charities. Simply email Guide@give.org with “Free Guide” in the subject line, and a name and address of where you’d like the guide to be sent.
Millennials: According to Adobe, every eight out of 10 millennials made purchases over Thanksgiving weekend in 2016.
Thanksgiving weekend sales: $289.19 is the amount individuals spent over Thanksgiving weekend in 2016, which is slightly down from 2015’s average of $299.60.
Holiday sales: Holiday retail sales during November and December increased 4 percent from 2015 to 2016 by $658.3 billion.
Top reasons to shop: Top three things that convinced holiday shoppers to make a purchase?
64% said: Free shipping
50% said: Limited-time sale or promotion
33% said: Ability to buy online and pickup in store
For more information, follow your BBB on Facebook, Twitter, and at bbb.org.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central Ohio, which was founded in 1921 and serves 21 counties in Central Ohio.