10 Ways to Make the Most of Black Friday

By , dealnews contributor While every day is like Black Friday here at dealnews, when the real thing comes around, we get extra bargain-happy. There’s nothing more exhilarating than a great deal, nabbing a doorbuster, and sharing these stories of savings with friends. However, Black Friday may seem stressful to some shoppers. So to make the most of the upcoming holiday, we suggest you arm yourself with these 10 tips that will help you hit the ground saving and keep your spirits light, knowing you’re getting great deals.

Check Out the Leaked Ads

The leaked Black Friday ads are beginning to pour in! We’ve analyzed the deals from Walmart, Harbor Freight Tools, Best Buy, and RadioShack to name a few. Be sure to study up on the all the leaked Black Friday ads that have come in so far, and maybe do some price-checking before the big day. Continue reading “10 Ways to Make the Most of Black Friday”

A Better Best Buy: Will Its New Business Model Draw in More Shoppers?

By Anne Marie D. Lee, dealnews contributor Electronics superstore Best Buy has taken a hard tumble in sales and profits over the past year, casting major doubts and speculation over its future as a retail leader. Its problems stem from more and more consumers having become privy to cheaper online deals on electronics, and steadily over time, Best Buy has been losing sales and profitability. Its omipresent box stores have even become a showroom for online merchants. Meanwhile, fellow superstores like Target and Walmart are making it exceedingly difficult to rationalize a special trip to Best Buy, what with their competitive prices and similar omnipotence. But new changes in the company’s business model, in addition to new leadership, aim to change shoppers’ views of the superstore.

Expected Changes at Best Buy

Forbes reports that Best Buy is cutting costs and changing its business modelin order to stay competitive this fiscal year. Since March, it has already closed 50 of its stores, and is shifting its product focus to mobile electronics. By 2016, Best Buy anticipates operating “some 600 to 800 mobile-only stores, up from 305 today.”

Even more dramatic, Best Buy recently announced new CEO, Hubert Joly, to takeover in September. Joly is the former CEO of Carlson Companies, a leader in the travel and hospitality industry. Known as a turnaround expert, Joly has invigorated profit growth for two of Carlson’s major brands: Raddison Hotels and TGI Friday restaurants. Whether he spin Best Buy’s current dilemma remains to be seen, however one thing’s for sure: Joly’s background in hospitality may be a godsend in terms in improving Best Buy’s most griped about inadequacy — poor customer service. Customer reviews for Best Buy customer service, either online or at a physical store fall far short of stellar and closer to irate. And don’t even get people started on Best Buy’s 24/7 tech support team aka the Geek Squad. Based on online reviews, if there’s any continuity in terms of brand experience, Best Buy’s is pure frustration.

Best Buy Still a Big Box Competitor?

Plummeting profits and customer service flaws notwithstanding, Best Buy is still one of the top five retail brands in the nation and can likely hold its own alongside Walmart and Target. Global brand agency Interbrand states that Best Buy’s profit woes are mainly the result of a “soft consumer electronics market” and the brand is still “top-of-mind by 65% over competitors,” as it claims more than 20% of the market share. What’s more, Interbrand points to a recent buyout by Best Buy of its U.K. partner Carphone Warehouse as a major investment in the company’s future growth in smartphone sales. This, along with consolidating its stores to 36,000 square feet, innovations, and new leadership, could save Best Buy from what some perceive as its inevitable demise.

Is Best Buy a lost cause? Or is it still the best place to find the in-store deals in electronics? Have you moved on to new retailers? Sound off in the comments below.

Photo credit: Interbrand

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A Better Best Buy: Will Its New Business Model Draw in More Shoppers?
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Endorse! That’s with an Exclamation Point.

There’s times where I don’t care how cheesy I sound because I’m really that enthusiastic about a product: Diet Coke (you’ve heard of my addiction). Gold Peak Tea (it’s the only bottled tea that actually tastes like real tea). Hot & Sour Soup (hot AND sour, how can you lose!?).  I have a new one.

Endorse! is a cool brand-new Facebook app that basically pays you to be a brand ambassador for your favorite products. The idea for Endorse is to connect brands to their most loyal and most influential customers. Purchase products, mail in your receipts and receive 10% cashback. If you add “followers” who also buy the same products, they get 10% and you can increase your cashback percentage to 100%.

Here’s how it works:

1. Visit www.endorse.com and login with your Facebook account.

2. Type in your favorite products such as Diet Coke or stores such as CVS or Target as I did, and click Endorse. Just like other referral programs on Groupon and Gilt, it’s good karma to join using your friends’ links. That way they get some credit for simply telling you about the program.

3. Now just save your receipts from your favorite stores and mail them in the free postage-paid envelope. For example, I purchased Diet Cokes at CVS yesterday. Before I shopped, I endorsed both on Endorse, so when I mail in my receipt, I’ll receive 10% back for shopping at CVS and 10% back for purchasing Diet Coke.

Endorse facebook app

Why does it work? With cashback shopping sites, big brands have ways to connect with their most loyal online shoppers, but bricks-and-mortar shoppers are more difficult. Endorse connects those big brands with their most loyal customers and rewards them.

Can I editorialize a little bit here? I really really hope people don’t find a way to take advantage of the system. Currently, there’s no limit to the number of brands you can endorse and no deadline to submit your receipts. I’m sure these and other policies will adjust accordingly. But I’m so impressed by how the CEO, Steven Carpenter, personally signed the welcome card as shown below. And how he went on Deal Seeking Mom’s blog to personally address every reader’s question. I’m impressed that the envelopes are sent to you free and postage-paid, whereas many other companies would find it cost prohibitive. Finally, I’m impressed to the attention to detail that Endorse! provides. I’m so excited to get started!Endorse Facebook app

Here’s a list of the products I endorse. Click to receive 10% cashback for every purchase of these items and more:

Bath & Body Works
Best Buy
Birds Eye Steamfresh Vegetables
Bud Light Chelada (seriously, these things are awesome!)
Campbell’s Soup
Diet Coke