Today is "Black Friday" in the USA - the day after the Thanksgiving holiday when many people have the day off of work and, therefore, go shopping for Christmas gifts, which are heavily discounted for only the early morning hours. With cash register lines dozens - sometimes hundreds - of people deep, I try to avoid being tempted by the deals.
However, if you are one of those who brave the crowds in seach of that bargain, here are some corporate procurement principles and how they can apply to Black Friday shopping. Hopefully, you can use them and return home satisfied.
1. Consider total cost, not just price. Let's say that getting to a store at 6AM can help you score a GPS for 15% less than you can buy online for $100. $15 sounds like a good savings on one item. But I've never waited in a Black Friday checkout line that required less than an hour to reach the cash register. So what is your time worth? If you feel that an hour of your life is worth more than $15, then the GPS isn't a good deal for you. A smart corporate procurement professional will compare differences in tangential costs between two alternatives rather than merely comparing prices. Black Friday shoppers should, too.
2. Evaluate quality alongside cost. Let's say a store has a touch screen MP3 player for $39. That price may make you say "I gotta get one of those!" But have you read the online reviews? It might have a one out of five star rating because it's junk. Is it still a good deal if the low-priced item doesn't work? Nope. A smart corporate procurement professional will research and consider the quality being purchased for the cost in evaluating the attractiveness of a deal. Black Friday shoppers should, too.
3. Prepare for things to not go as expected. Just because a store advertises an item doesn't mean that they will have it in stock when you get there. Just because a store has seven cash registers open doesn't mean that they will be staffed by competent cashiers. You need to be prepared for disappointments and think about what you will do if things don't turn out as you had hoped. A smart corporate procurement professional will have a contingency plan. Black Friday shoppers should, too.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to end this blog post now so I can go shopping...just kidding!
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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