Black Friday is about to hit, and when it does the best sales end in 24 hours. If your strategy this year includes shopping at Walmart, Amazon, or Zappos for Black Friday heels sales, then you’re missing out on all the best discounts.
Here’s What We’ll Cover
- Are Black Friday Sales Even Real?
- The Stores that Didn’t Make the Finals
- Digesting the Data & The 5 W’s Behind it
- The Average Black Friday Heels Sales & The Finalists
- How to Get the Most out of Black Friday Sales
- TLDR: Conclusion
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Are Black Friday Sales Even Real?
Whether or not Black Friday sales are legitimate has been debated ever since its inception in 1952.
Smaller independent retailers sometimes resort to dishonest marketing practices such as raising their prices prior to Black Friday to make their discounts appear larger while benefiting from “sale” items that are just regular price.
Large retailers offer a real discount, but when compared to sales that occur throughout the year, it is debatable whether the Black Friday sales offer the highest discounts.
So, is it really worth it to wait for Black Friday sales, especially when it comes to shoes?
Well, that depends on a few factors.
The first being what kind of shoes you’re looking for. If you’re on the hunt for a popular brand like Nike, UGGs, or Converse, then yes, with some stores it’s worth the wait.
The second factor is what season of shoes you’re shopping for. For example, if you’re looking to stock up on summer sandals at the end of November, then heck yeah, Black Friday is your jam, and in fact, you’re likely to get better deals in store because some stores offer Black Friday discounts on top of already discounted summer shoes.
The third factor relates to shopping comfort and how far you’re willing to go for a sale.
when you think of Black Friday, do you see a bunch of sale signs, or do you see a crowd of people trampling over each other in a crowded store?
If you’re one of the brave, you strategically plan your shopping stops within the limited window, and shop in person on Black Friday.
Others, choose to shop on less crowded days for example during a “Black Friday Week” promotion or Sunday morning before everyone else wakes up, but by doing so they forgo the peak discounts available only on Friday.
So is are Black Friday heels sales worth waiting for?
Yes, but you gotta pick your stores and shopping times wisely to maximize your discounts.
Stores that Didn’t Make the Finals
Black Friday is an event that encourages all stores to offer insane discounts and unforgettable incentives, but not every store was cut out for the finals.
While researching “Black Friday heels sales”, we looked into the following 40 of stores:
We then broke that group down into semi-finalists by using Google trends to compare search results for terms related to Black Friday heels and sales.
Some of the semi finalists included Browns Shoes, Walmart, Amazon, Shoes.com, Zappos, and Nordstrom because many people were interested in going to these specific stores for fashionable shoes. Unfortunately, the mentioned stores didn’t make the final cut and here’s why.
Many of those larger stores didn’t make the cut because they focused on advertising non shoe related Black Friday sales.
Using Walmart as an example, yes you could have bought heels on Black Friday, but their shoe prices were already low, the quality was mediocre, and the Black Friday deals were much better for everything else like electronics and houseware.
Also, any store that operated on a subscription only model, in-store only sales, or had too many friggen popups on their website was immediately booted off the list.
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Digesting the Data & The 5 W’s Behind it
Let’s dig into the who, what, where, when and why behind this whole research project, starting with the what.
Here’s What Shoe Styles Were Consistently on Sale
Though there were some special branded items like Converse, Nike, and Sorel Winter Boots, the most common sale items were boots, booties, UGGS and heels.
Stores that carried their own brands tried to promote their items as door crashers, while most other stores applied discounts to all items under a specific shoe style.
This is Where We Found The Black Friday Sales Data
We gathered Black Friday sales information from paper flyers, coupon forums, Facebook pages and the retailer’s website using the Wayback Machine. In some data tables below, you’ll notice a few gaps because the data wasn’t available or the store didn’t offer a sale on those items.
When was the Research Conducted & for Which Dates
The research took place in October 2019, and we intend to gather data from this year’s Black Friday heels sales to update our findings and make predictions for next year.
As for which dates, we tried our best to collect at least 3 years of data to compare. So the data we collected, with some reference links to the Wayback Machine, start in 2016 and go up to Black Friday in 2018.
Why We Researched Black Friday Sales
To be honest, I, the writer, wanted to buy a new pair of winter boots and had an inkling that Black Friday would be the best time to buy them. Fortunately for you, after a quick Google search, I still had no idea which store would have the best Black Friday boots sales so I did much more digging.
Now, Who are the finalists?
We’ll break that down in the next section, as well as what exactly we’re comparing.
The Average Black Friday Heels Sales & The Finalists
To find the Final Finalist, aka, the best store for fashion shoes on Black Friday, we first looked at each store’s overall Black Friday sale predictability from year to year.
Then we compared the style and brand specific discounts that were worth mentioning.
Lastly, we compared the storewide sales, discounts, and incentives, to figure out which stores had the best deals.
Let’s dig deeper.
Black Friday sales appear around the same time every year at a time when most of us have forgotten what last year sales looked like.
Though in most cases, creativity is a good, it’s not so great when you’re trying to predict whether a store will be worth a visit or not.
Starting with third place, Macy’s had $69.50 boots drop down to $19.99 for 3 years in a row. This has been a Door Stopper Deal from 2016 – 2018, so if you’ve got a thing for Macy styled boots , they’ll likely be on sale this year.
Second place goes to KOHL’s, not only did they have a consistent store wide discount of 15% each year, but they also offered the same KOHL’s cash card incentive . This is great if you’re looking to get all your shopping done in one department store.
Now first place, is actually tied between Aldo and Nine West . They both offered a storewide sale of 50% off, and they’ve done so for 3 years in a row. So, for the sake of predictability, we recommend you head to either of those stores for Black Friday heels, flats, and boot sales.
Style & Brand Specific Sales
When it comes to the shoe styles and brands that are on sale for Black Friday, we can see a consistent pattern for boots.
In 2016 every store had boots & booties on sale as pictured above, and the trend continued in 2017 and 2018.
The odd 115%.02 off Ugg Style Boots at KOHL’S is a result of applying the KOHL’S cash card incentive directly to the item on sale (despite the sale restrictions). We figure that since it’s a department store, that extra $15 cash card would probably get spent on celebratory snacks anyway, so it’s been included.
What’s interesting in the later years (2017 & 2018) is the decline of UGG branded boot sales, instead stores like Nine West focused on selling their own UGG style boots and offering a large discount.
For the sake of fair comparison, we created a controlled average price for each product style and listed what the final cost would be at each store once all the discounts and incentives were applied.
If you’re looking for UGGs, your best bet would be to shop online and grab them at Zappos which has had it at 30 – 50% off in 2017 and 2018, or get them at KOHL’S to qualify for the $15 cash card.
As for sneakers, KOHL’S is the winner for brands like Adidas, while Macy’s wins by a dollar for Nike shoes.
Some notable brand mentions that aren’t in the chart above include Zappos and DSW’s sale of Sorel Winter boots.
Zappos offered a 20% discount on high quality branded winter boots such as Columbia and Sorel in 2017, then they switched gears with a fashion boot in 2018.
That being said, it’s possible that they might switch back this year and put at least one of those heavy duty winter boots on sale, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.
Best Black Friday Incentives
For this section, we’re excluding store-wide discounts because that’s covered below.
Aside from store wide discounts, Macy’s offered $10 off purchases of $25 or more in 2018, but that was about it for them while Nine West offered free shipping in 2017 and 2018 as an extra incentive.
KOHL’S added the cash card to purchases made on Black Friday in 2016. Then, in 2017 they added free shipping on purchases over $25 plus the cash card offer, and then they repeated that same 2017 offer in 2018.
In 2018 DSW offered 20% off purchases of over $90 and and 25% off purchases of $190 or more, which is only great if you’re looking to drop $190 in DSW alone.
So the winner here is KOHL’S, because not only did they add the $15 cash card for every $50 spent, but they also offered free shipping.
Best Storewide Discount
Surprisingly enough, KOHL’S is not the winner for the best Black Friday store-wide discounts.
In third place we have Macy’s
They’ve had a 20% off storewide Black Friday sale for 2 years in a row. Which considering that it applies to everything in the department store, it’s pretty big. You could pick up a great pair of shoes and some other stuff all in one spot for a reasonable price. This is also great if you wear sizes 12 or 13 because Macy’s carries larger sizes.
Second place goes to Aldo
They’ve had 50% off storewide every year! So if you’re looking for one of the best Black Friday heel sales, that’s one of the places to go. Unfortunately, their shoes only go up to size 11, so if you’re looking for larger sizes stick with Macy’s or number 1.
First place goes to Nine West!
Not only did they have a 50% off storewide sale each year, they also had free shipping, and offer shoes that go up to size 12.
The Final Finalists
Aka: Exactly Where to go for Black Friday Heels Sales
So, we recognize that not every store carries plus size heels, therefore we had to nominate 2 final finalists.
The Final Finalist for Heels in Up to Size 12 US
They offered a 50% off storewide discount for 3 years in a row, offered free shipping, and they still have a wide selection of fashionable shoes.
The Final Finalist for Heels in Up to Size 13 US
They had style specific sales, free shipping, and offered a $15 cash card for every 50 spent, so it’s possible to get a pair of shoes for free if you play your cards right.
Out of the 40 stores listed above Nine West and KOHL’S offered the best Black Friday sales on heels, boots, and other fashion shoes.
Nine West offered 50% off storewide for 3 years in a row, while KOHL’S offered a competitive cash card in 2016 & 2018
Tips & Tricks for Black Friday
To take advantage of the Black Friday sales, it’s important to shop at stores with storewide sale bonuses based on what you’re planning on picking up.
For example, if you’re buying dressy shoes for yourself, hit up the Nine West, and if you’re trying to grab clothing, housewares, and other items in addition to shoes, go to KOHL’S.
Lastly, never settle for BOGO 20% off sales or the X% off if you spend X dollars on a Black Friday because you’ll spend more money and get a crappier discount than you would have at another store.
So, now you’re armed and ready, what’s your Black Friday game plan?
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