Reasons why you should do your Black Friday shopping online

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The day after Thanksgiving is known far and wide as the year's premier sale event, when shoppers wait in line for brick-and-mortar stores to roll out the red carpet and offer deep discounts on some of the year's most in-demand items. While some people wait for Cyber Monday to do their shopping on the web, many stores offer their Black Friday deals online at the same time they're offered in the store.

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It's cold out

Let's get the obvious one out of the way first: If you're planning on waiting in line outside for hours before the "doorbusters" begin, you're probably going to have to contend with some seriously cold weather.

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Great deals are available online, too

Sure, there may be a selection of deeply discounted goods that are available in-store only, but it's a small selection of items that sell out fast, and the quality of those items may be lower even if they look the same. Many major online retailers offer Black Friday sales, and while they may not always be exactly the same deals that you'll find in-store, they're usually still worthwhile.

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There are no crowds to fend off

While some people may enjoy the competition and the thrill of the hunt, Black Friday crowds could get really intense. 

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You can plan ahead

If you signed up for newsletters from your favorite retailers, you might be filled in on what will be discounted and when the sale will begin online. That way, you can browse through the merchandise, bookmark multiple sites or open up multiple tabs with everything you want to buy and have your game plan ready. 

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You can shop at multiple stores at the same time

If you're looking for a great doorbuster in person, you can't be in six places at the same time; you have to choose one store and stick with it. But with the internet at your disposal, you can close out of one store's site and move right onto the next without jumping into your car.

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You're less likely to make impulse purchases

Two separate studies from A.T. Kearney and LivePerson have shown that folks shopping in physical stores are more likely to make impulse purchases than those who are shopping online. This is primarily because when you're in a store and surrounded by temptation, you're in a more "spendy" mood and more willing to buy stuff than you are when you're just sitting at your computer.

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Many sites offer free shipping

One advantage of shopping in-store has traditionally been the fact that when you shop online you need to pay for shipping. But many retailers with big-ticket holiday items will sometimes do away with shipping fees during big sales.

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Products are less likely to sell out

If there's one particular item you're planning on buying, you're more likely to find it online than in-store (a study by Adobe Analytics found that only 2.8% of online products were sold out on Black Friday 2018). Brick-and-mortar stores only have room for merchandise on the shelves and in the backroom, while online stores have whole warehouses at their disposal.

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Many sites offer flat-rate discounts

Many times, when an online retailer runs a sale, there will be a flat-rate discount across the board, for example 20% off all merchandise. This tactic isn't as frequent in-store, where you're more likely to see the specific discount fluctuate from item to item.

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You're more likely to buy exactly what you want

If you have a specific product in mind, it's much easier to just go online, find it and buy it. When you shop in-store, you're less likely to find exactly what you're looking for and instead be forced to settle for your second (or third) choice.

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You can try to negotiate a lower price via live chat

You know those little "live chat" windows that pop up from the bottom of your screen while shopping online? They're great for a lot more than just answering support questions. The brains behind Rather-Be-Shopping.com discovered that not only can you ask them for online coupons, you can also try to negotiate a lower price with them. Keep in mind, however, that this usually only works with big-ticket items like computers, and it helps to come prepared with a couple reasons, like a lower price on a competing website or a recent bad customer service experience. 

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You can start early

An Adobe Analytics study found that for the first time, 2018's online prices were just as low on Thanksgiving as they were on Black Friday. The company also reported that Thanksgiving Day is the fastest-growing online shopping day.

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... or you can wait

If you simply can't make the time on Friday or the deal you were hunting down expired, online shopping can wait until Cyber Monday or Super Saturday when more deals will pop up. 

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You can load up throughout the year

All throughout the year, online retailers host deals that can easily rival what you'll find on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Subscribe to newsletters and keep your ear to the ground and you can have all your holiday shopping done even before Thanksgiving rolls around. It's just one of many secrets that shopping malls don't want you to know.

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