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CHICAGO (WLS) — Steve Bernas, president, and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois, joined ABC7 to discuss holiday shopping.

Bernas gave tips for people as they shop during the holiday season. He spoke about how to avoid shopping scams on Black Friday.

SEE ALSO | Black Friday 2021: Chicago area shoppers line up for deals outside Aurora outlet mall

“Instead of setting an alarm to brave crowds for deeply discounted items, dedicated shoppers are expected to look for deals online in advance of Black Friday, similar to last year,” said Bernas. “However, the concern is that shoppers do so with caution.”

He also discussed how ongoing supply chain challenges could impact holiday shopping in 2021 and offered warnings for shoppers about price hikes caused by inflation.

“The impact of the continued pandemic, hiring challenges for retailers, expected global supply chain interruptions, and other economic factors will determine how people will shop,” said Bernas. “Retail experts are predicting higher-than-normal crowds in the stores and increased percentages in spending on gifts, decorations, and overall holiday-related purchases.”

RELATED | Stores kick off Black Friday but pandemic woes linger

For those who will do their shopping on Black Friday, BBB offers these tips to make shopping experiences productive and enjoyable:

Stay Safe. Follow CDC guidelines and the policies of individual retailers for health and safety while in the store. While shopping online beware of fake websites. And avoid clicking on deals that pop-up on social media sites or in emails.

Make the most of Black Friday deals. Start with a list of items and use sale flyers and promotions to determine which store has the best price. Set a budget and stick with it before heading out.

Know the return policy and warranty information. Pass along any information about returns, exchanges, repairs, and warranties to the person who will use the item. Gift receipts are an easy way for recipients to return or exchange a gift if it’s not just right, but make sure the item is able to be returned before purchasing.

Read the fine print. Some retailers may offer an additional percentage off the purchase, but could exclude certain deals or items such as “door busters.” Watch for companies boasting a high percentage off; the item may be “75% off,” but the original price could be inflated. Carefully check the price tags, terms, and conditions. Research online using a secure wifi connection to see if competitors have the item at a better price.

SEE ALSO | Sam’s Toy Box: Black Friday deals

Plan out the excursion. Sometimes it’s not necessary to wait to see what deals will be offered on Black Friday. As is being seen this year, retailers often will release Black Friday flyers weeks ahead of time, so consumers can plan out their shopping spree. Make a map of the stores to visit and what items are at which store. Some retailers only honor sale ads during a certain time frame, or on certain days, and could limit the amount of deeply discounted items available for purchase.

Sign-up for email alerts. Many stores release their best Black Friday deals and exclusive coupons to people who have subscribed to their emails. Sign up ahead of the holiday season, and then unsubscribe afterward if needed.

Do your research. Read product reviews on extremely discounted items. It could be a cheaper model or brand advertised, and not what was expected. Check BBB.org for Business Profiles of the stores and read what other customers’ have experienced.

RELATED | Black Friday shopping tips from RetailMeNot

Bernas additionally talked about how BBB is urging people to support Small Business Saturday. He gave his recommendations for what shoppers can do to get involved and support small businesses the day after Black Friday.

BBB offers tips for shopping on Small Business Saturday:

Invite your friends and family. Turn this shopping event into a “friends and family” extravaganza! Visit favorite local stores or explore a new one. Take time to get to know the business owners and local community officials, while enjoying time with loved ones.

Don’t just shop small, eat small! Many people think that shopping at local retail stores is the only way to participate. However, small independently owned restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops would love to see new customers.

Get involved. Many communities are hosting special events to celebrate and support the businesses that make your hometown unique. Find out what local events are happening in your area on the Small Business Saturday website or visit your local chamber of commerce or merchants’ association.

SEE ALSO | How holiday shoppers can sidestep supply chain shortages, get gifts on time

Sign-up for email alerts. Save a few dollars on your holiday budget by signing up for Small Business Saturday email specials offered by the merchants in your area. You’ll probably get additional deals throughout the year, not just during the holidays.

Research the shops nearest to you. Find out what past customers have to say by reading reviews online, such as those on BBB.org

Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Source: ABC7

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