Black Friday deals online are made for those of us who get anxious even thinking about joining a crowd of shoppers at a retailer like Walmart. The good news is the pandemic changed Black Friday forever. Now that we’ve had three years in a row of killer Black Friday deals online, will stores ever offer specific deals you can only get in person again?
From what we saw in 2022, the answer is no. Most stores offered the same deals online as they were in person. Some stores, like Target, even offered online-exclusive deals you couldn’t find in store, reversing the trend from pre-pandemic times.
That makes it all the more crucial to have a game plan for mastering Black Friday deals online. This way you can get steals on gifts for your people without leaving home.
Here are 27 tips to getting the best Black Friday deals online.
1. Shop on Thanksgiving for earlier access to Black Friday deals online.
Typically, stores are taking their deals live online on Thanksgiving, even if the physical stores are closed on Thanksgiving. Then, when the doors open on Black Friday morning, you can access the same deals in person. If you want to land some amazing sales that are live right now, here’s a sampling of our favorites from 2022 :
- Apple AirPods with Charging Case (2nd Generation) ($79, Walmart), originally $119.99
- Hoover Dual Power Max Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner Machine ($97, Walmart), originally $199.99
- Women’s ZeroXposur Brooke Packable Puffer Jacket ($25.49, Kohls), originally $100
- Cricut Explore Air 2 ($169, Amazon), originally $249.99
- Jordan Air 200E Shoes ($69.99, Dick’s), originally $124.99
2. Next year, start shopping Black Friday deals online around Halloween or even earlier.
Every year, more retailers release online deals earlier, rather than later. This began with Amazon offering Lightning Deals starting mid-November years ago. Soon, Kohl’s followed suit offering deals a whole week before Black Friday. The year after that, we saw Target jump on the bandwagon. Then the pandemic happened in 2020, pushing early Black Friday into October.
In 2022 Target Deal Days ran from Oct. 10 – 15. We saw savings on TVs, video games, kitchen appliances, and more. And Target kept up the momentum into November, offering tons of early Target Black Friday deals, Deal of the Day, BOGO Half-off toy deals, and a 25% Target toy coupon that was good until Nov. 15.
And of course, early Amazon Black Friday deals were huge, including deep discounts on Amazon Home Brand furniture, appliances and bedding, as well as discounts on toys, Apple AirPods, TVs, and tablets.
3. Be the first one to shop the Black Friday best deals online.
In-store shoppers only have to compete with locals for deals. However, when you shop online, you’re competing on a nationwide level. So you’re gonna have to step up your game.
Setting your alarm 10 minutes before a sale begins is a solid start. And hey, if that midnight wake-up makes you cringe, just remember you can shop the best deals right from your bed—no pants required!
4. Bookmark product pages ahead of time.
One of the best tips for shopping online Black Friday is to get first dibs on items by bookmarking web pages. Then, as soon as the sale begins, head to that page with just one click.
5. Or, use different browser tabs for each store.
Toggle between the best store deals like a boss. Set up store browser tabs beforehand and just refresh when the deals start.
6. Clear your cookies and go incognito to avoid markups on websites you shop.
Have you ever heard the term “dynamic pricing”? In theory, it’s the idea that pricing is based on market ebbs and flows. For example, airline prices are based on dynamic pricing, and they change frequently.
Unfortunately, retailers also use it on consumers who frequent their websites, assuming someone who buys a lot from them will buy no matter the price. It means you could be punished for being a loyal customer.
To combat this, clear your cookies and then open an incognito window (Cmd + shift + N on a Mac) to do your shopping. That way, the retailer thinks you’re a first-time buyer and will offer you better prices.
7. Use Google Shopping to compare Black Friday deals online across retailers.
Use Google Shopping to help you compare prices across the internet on pretty much any product within seconds. Make sure you go incognito for these as well so you’re not seeing inflated pricing.
Checking prices helps you determine how much of a discount you’re actually getting. If a Black Friday sale price isn’t that much different from the regular cost of an item, save your dollars for a better deal.
Related: Early Black Friday Deals
8. Keep an Amazon tab on your browser solely for checking reviews.
You probably already know that Amazon is a jungle packed with products—it has pretty much everything. But do you know how to use this fact to your advantage? Use it to look up reviews, specs, and related deals on items you’re shopping at other sites.
If you were in store, you could simply scan products with the Amazon app, but from home you’ll have to look up the item manually.
9. Bookmark Fakespot.com to make sure Amazon reviews are honest.
Amazon reviews are definitely helpful, but did you know that some of them are considered “deceptive,” meaning the person reviewing was compensated for a review? Or maybe it was a bot that “wrote” the review — not a real person?
Fakespot cuts through all of that and gives each Amazon URL a “grade” — “A” through “F.” Reliable reviews from actual people get an “A” on down to “F” for completely unreliable reviews.
Just copy and paste the URL for your Amazon item into Fakespot and away you go!
10. Start an Amazon Prime free trial around Nov. 20.
This will give you ample time to shop all the Amazon Lightning Deals (deeply discounted items that Prime members get early access to). Lightning Deals are only available for a very limited time or until sold out, and they feature heavily during Black Friday week.
This way you can take advantage of all the Amazon Black Friday deals, along with Prime’s free 2-day shipping until a few days before Christmas.
Sign up for a 30-day free Amazon trial now.
TIP: If paying for a Prime membership isn’t worth it for your situation all year round, set a reminder to cancel your subscription before the end of the 30-day period!
11. Use an online inventory tracker to be the first to know when an item is back in stock.
Inventory trackers like ZooLert allow you to track inventory by product or by store. Let’s say you’re looking for the season’s hottest toy but it’s sold out everywhere.
Just check the box indicating you want to hear an alarm for this item and leave that window open on your computer. ZooLert updates every minute, and when one comes back in stock, you’ll hear an alert.
If you want to search by store, you’ll need the DCPI number. But many websites, like Target, show that number online when you look at the details for the item. Enter that number and you’ll see whether the store has the item in stock.
12. Check CamelCamelCamel.com to find out if Amazon prices are lower than average.
CamelCamelCamel.com monitors the price of millions of products on Amazon. Use the price history it provides to help you determine whether that Black Friday deal you’ve been eyeing is actually a good deal or if it’s best to wait for a better price later.
For example, say you see an awesome deal on a Magic Mixies Crystal Ball this Black Friday. Drop the Amazon link on CamelCamelCamel.com and it’ll pull up the price history, revealing when Amazon sold its cheapest, highest, and current price.
Based on that info, wait … or go for it. Depending on the results.
13. Don’t ever pay for shipping! Use free store or curbside pickup instead.
In 2022 most retailers became innovated enough to offer in-store pickup at the very least, and many offer curbside pickup.
Even better? Top Black Friday stores like Target, Walmart, Kohl’s, and more offer contactless curbside pickup where you don’t even have to get out of your car.
If you’re not spending enough to meet the store’s minimum amount for free shipping (usually $25 – $75, depending on the retailer), opt for free store pickup. Sure, you’ll have to leave the house, but if you plan to pick up your items while you’re already out, it’s worth it to avoid paying for shipping.
14. Prevent stolen packages by signing up for UPS My Choice and Amazon shipment updates via text.
Get Amazon updates sent directly to your phone every time your Amazon package leaves the warehouse and again as soon as it’s delivered.
Or sign up for UPS My Choice, a free service that lets you control how you want packages delivered. With My Choice, they’ll alert you when something is about to be delivered via UPS, but you’ll also be able to customize “leave at” instructions for the delivery person. You’ll be given the option to have your package delivered to a pickup location versus a home address as well.
15. Put online Black Friday deals in your online shopping cart a week before sales start.
Of course, this works for any store, and I’d do it for every store I plan to shop at if I were you.
Study your stores’ leaked ads and add items you know will go on sale to your online shopping cart. While you’re at it, make sure your shipping address is up-to-date, and if you feel comfortable, add your payment information.
Then abandon your cart, and when deals go live, head back to the retailer, and you should see updated sale prices. From there, all you have to do is complete your transaction.
16. Create a separate Facebook or Instagram account just for following retailers.
If you don’t want your regular newsfeed cluttered with consumer updates, consider creating a separate social media account and follow all your favorite retailers, airlines, brands, and deal sites for sale updates and exclusive promo codes.
TIP: Be sure to add The Krazy Coupon Lady to your follow list! The number of stores and deals we cover makes us one of the most comprehensive resources on the internet.
17. Sign up for free store loyalty programs in advance.
If you’re not already a member of free store loyalty programs, sign up for them immediately. You’ll get exclusive savings and early bird alerts just for joining.
For the past handful of years, rewards members have received $15 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 spent Monday – Saturday the week of Thanksgiving. You seriously cannot beat that.
18. Shop sites that always have free shipping—and free returns.
Speaking of free shipping, shop retailers that’ll send you your purchase for free no matter how little you spend.
Make sure you check on return policies, though. A lot of stores may charge you a restocking fee or postage for returned items. Avoid those retailers.
These stores always offer free shipping and free returns. You may have to join a free store loyalty program to qualify:
19. Purchase most wanted items individually if a site offers free shipping.
On free shipping websites, complete orders for the items you want first, and then continue browsing for items you’re just thinking about. That way you won’t have to worry about your product selling out while you’re shopping for other deals.
20. Stack on even more savings with discounted e-gift cards.
Buy discounted e-gift cards way in advance of Black Friday (like, right now). This way, all you have to worry about is finding deals and completing online orders. That’s the easy and fun part.
Sites like Raise, Gift Card Granny, and CardBear buy legit, unwanted gift cards from consumers and businesses and sell them back to shoppers at a discounted rate. For instance, you might find a Gap e-gift card worth its face value of $100 for just $90.
Here are the savings you may get at popular retailers when you use a discounted gift card to make your purchase:
- Bath & Body Works: 6.9% off
- Gap: 16.3% off (may use at any Gap store, Banana Republic, Athleta, or Old Navy)
- JCPenney: 8.9%
- Kohl’s: 5.6% off
- Macy’s: 5.7% off
- Michaels: 8.8% off
- Walmart: 2.1% off
21. Create your own deal with flat percentage-off or dollar-off coupon codes.
Retailers like Kohl’s, Gap, Old Navy, Carter’s, Express, and Rue21 like to discount everything in their stores on Black Friday. To save even more during these sales, search for coupon codes that offer flat percentage-off (like “an extra 20% off with ___ code”) or dollar-off (like “$10 off your order with ___”) offers, and stack sale savings with coupons.
Also, look for offers like these at Macy’s, JCPenney, and other apparel/shoe stores like Puma and Aldo. Often retailers will include discount codes on in-store paper coupons you can use on the internet, so keep your eyes peeled even when you’re offline.
22. Shop Target’s Black Friday sale with your RedCard for an extra 5% off.
When you open a Target RedCard, you can opt for either the credit card option or the debit card option. If you go with the RedCard debit option, your card will be connected to your checking account, and you can make purchases in store or on Target.com.
If you like free shipping, extended return windows, and an extra 5% off purchases, then seriously consider getting a RedCard. You’ll get these perks all year long—not just on Black Friday.
23. Book flights for next year’s family vacation on Cyber Monday.
With air travel operating domestically and lessened restrictions for overseas travel, flights may be a good buy this Black Friday. In 2021 we found Alaska Airlines offering $29 flights on Cyber Monday and Travel Tuesday. Southwest offered $39 flights a week or so earlier in November.
Check these airlines’ social media pages for pop-up sales Thanksgiving week through Travel Tuesday, and make reservations quickly before they sell out!
24. Start shopping for video games before Black Friday.
As we get closer to Black Friday and the year-end, popular games that were released in the beginning of the year end up being dropped to half their price during Black Friday. These price drops sometimes appear as early as the beginning of November well before Black Friday.
Video game consoles are slightly different. Nintendo, for example, will release a new version of their latest console just before Black Friday—if there’s a new version coming out. You’ll want to check back for deals on Black Friday for these hot ticket items.
25. Have a game plan for Bath & Body Works.
For the past three years, the Bath & Body Works Black Friday sale has started the Monday before Thanksgiving day. In 2020 the early start was in stores only. In 2021 and 2022 the sale began both in stores and online.
Gift boxes became available on Wednesday, and in 2022 a 20% off stackable coupon code became available on Thursday. A shopper could take advantage of all three promotions on one transaction, which created some truly krazy deals.
Here are a few tips for shopping Bath & Body Works during Black Friday week:
- Have coupons available when you shop online.
- Know what scents you want ahead of time. Usually, they have an online tote or box as their major sale.
- Join their Rewards Program ahead of time.
- If 2022 is anything like years past, the deals will just get better as the week goes on.
26. Look for more deals online on Dec. 14: Free Shipping Day.
Cyber Monday isn’t the last big day before Christmas to score great online deals.
That would be Dec. 14 — a.k.a. Free Shipping Day. That’s when hundreds of online retailers (especially apparel and shoe retailers) offer deep discounts and coupon codes hoping to capture all the last-minute shoppers who need packages delivered by Christmas.
27. Shop through Rakuten to earn cash back on every online purchase.
When you shop through Rakuten, they’ll share a portion of their commission with you. It’s an incredibly easy way to add an extra layer of savings!
While cash-back amounts can fluctuate from time to time, you can earn up to 10% back shopping online anywhere from Groupon to Walmart.
Look for Double Cash Back offers that appear every so often, and consider installing the Google Chrome browser extension so you can get reminders and notifications when you’re shopping online. It’ll also display coupon codes if available and any cash-back amount offers.