Bargains, discounts - these buzzwords can become extra important in an era of heightened inflation. Before the culminating wave of Black Week sales arrives, it is worth knowing how to distinguish real bargains from apparent ones. When shopping in foreign shops, it is crucial not to be caught out by unfavourable exchange rates and currency conversion fees. To celebrate Black Friday and Cyber Monday, fintech Conotoxia has prepared a special offer, making its flagship product - a physical multi-currency card - available at a much lower price.
Black Friday, the US-originated custom of in-store sales and stock clearing ahead of the onset of the Christmas shopping rush, is taking a global turn. From a one-day format, it has quickly evolved into an entire, almost global selling weekend. With much of the trade shifting towards online one, it has also gained a 'little brother' - Cyber Monday.
The National Retail Federation in the US forecasts that consumer spending in November and December 2023 will increase by 3-4% and reach between 957.3 billion and 966.6 billion USD compared to last year (1). Before Black Week arrives, it is advisable to be prepared for the traps set by e-tailers.
How to gauge the extent of price reductions
In 2023, Black Friday falls on 24 November. The promotional actions associated with it have already started. The number of people waiting for extraordinary discounts on goods is not running low. According to Google Search Trends, the daily number of searches containing sale offers increased by more than 2,300% at the end of November compared to September. In various countries, including Poland, special websites gather Black Week promotions from competing shops.
"We have to ask ourselves a question. Do the bargains that retailers try to lure us with really have anything to do with significant price reductions on full-priced and popular goods? To be sure, all we need to do is prepare for our shopping. After all, a few weeks before Black Friday, we can check how much the items we are interested in cost. Let's also not pay attention to the percentage scales of discounts, but simply to the prices. Even if we are shopping at the mall, with a smartphone, we can quickly see how much the same products cost at other retailers or analyse the history of price changes. And if, in the meantime, someone gets a heads-up when buying the last item covered by a 'super sale'? Well, maybe it is better to look for a real bargain than to get caught by an apparent one," suggests Robert Blaszczyk, Head of Strategic Clients Department at Conotoxia.
Advantages of online transactions
Shopping centres usually become crowded during Black Week. On the one hand, the goods on offer can be touched and tried on, and the quality assessed. On the other hand, however, you have to deal with crowds, loss of time and money on transport, limited range of products and shop opening hours. In contrast, online, with minimal time loss, no fuel and no need to travel, but with a larger selection of goods, we can shop without getting up from our sofa.
Online transactions have at least two more important advantages. We have access to sale offers from almost all over the world, and it is also easy to back out of any purchase. When we take a cool look at the contents of a parcel from an online retailer, we have two weeks (sometimes shops offer considerably longer deadlines) to send the goods back and reclaim payment. Meanwhile, a stationary shop is under no obligation to accept returns.
Foreign online shops
Even if a cross-border auction portal or online shop allows transactions to be made in, for example, Polish zlotys and in one of the most popular payment methods in Poland, a rule holds that, from the consumer's perspective, it is most advantageous to use the currency that the seller uses on a daily basis. For example, in British shops, it is more profitable to pay in pounds, in German or French shops - in euros, in American shops - in dollars, in Chinese shops - in yuan, in Czech shops - in koruna and so on.
Of course, it is virtually impossible to have so many currencies or accounts in them at hand. However, it is possible to use a multi-currency card. Such a product provided, for example, by fintech Conotoxia (in traditional, plastic form and virtual one) allows transactions in more than 160 currencies from all over the world, which are settled at favourable exchange rates. On the occasion of Black Week, Conotoxia is lowering physical card prices. The special offer is valid from November 20 to 30, 2023. Polish customers will pay 29.99 PLN for the product - 10 PLN less than the standard price. Fintech users from abroad, paying for their order in, e.g. euros or Czech korunas, can also count on similar discounts. One person can buy only one physical card at a discounted price and additionally order two virtual cards for free and use them immediately.
Define your budget and pay attention to delivery costs
Black Week in shops across the pond, however, may involve higher delivery costs for goods compared to domestic deliveries, which should always be verified on the retailer's website before purchasing.
"I would suggest setting a maximum shopping budget before embarking on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales so that you do not run out of funds for necessary expenses later on. A multi-currency card can be helpful in this regard. When we top up the card only with the amount we can afford, we gain a "brake", which will protect us from the shopping rush," points out the Conotoxia expert.
The multi-currency card is offered by Conotoxia Sp. z o.o., Polish Financial Supervision Authority permit no. IP30/2015. The lowest card price from the last 30 days before the discount is 39.99 PLN. The price shown is valid for one physical card purchased between 20.11.-30.11.2023 held in PLN currency. For cards held in other currencies, please check the details.