The days when consumers went to Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) to look at items they later intended to buy on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) have long since passed. The retailer has remade its business, and now offers competitive pricing that makes it an Amazon competitor rather than a showroom for the online giant. That makes Best Buy one of the top Black Friday destinations. The retailer sells the televisions, appliances, computers, and phones that top many people's wish lists -- in fact, when the chain opens its doors on Thanksgiving Day at 5 p.m. it will have some of the lowest prices on electronics being offered by any retailer.
Best Buy has become a player that can compete with anyone, but there are still two areas where you should not make a purchase from the retail chain. In one case, Amazon remains the better bet; and in the other, there are simply cheaper options.
Cables and cords
When you buy a television it's logical and easy to buy any necessary HDMI cable at the same store you purchase the TV. The same is true for a printer, computer, or anything else that does not come with all the required cables and cords.
Best Buy counts on consumers wanting that convenience, and it charges accordingly. To be fair, the company has become more competitive on these items -- a few years ago the chain was absurdly expensive for cables and cords -- but it's still cheaper to buy these items on Amazon if you're hoping to offer a complete gift package.
Ideally, you should find out what you need before shopping and order the cables and cords so you have them when you make the bigger purchase. That will help you resist any temptation to make an impulse buy.
TV mounting services
Best Buy offers all sorts of services through its Geek Squad arm. Many of them are good deals, but when it comes to TV mounting there are cheaper choices out there. The retail chain charges $129.99 for basic mounting and $199.99 for more complex mounts.
Shoppers can find local providers with a simple internet search that charge anywhere from $69 to $99. Yes, you'll want to be careful and read reviews to make sure you're getting someone good, but that's easy enough to do. Even Amazon can be cheaper than Best Buy (though it's not always, as it depends upon TV size), and you can easily find a professional to mount your TV for under $100.
Be a smart shopper
Just because Best Buy has become competitive when it comes to prices does not mean you should not do your homework. It's easy to check prices at Amazon while you're in the brick-and-mortar retailer. It's also smart to do as much homework as you can before you visit the store.
Best Buy has become a viable Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping destination -- really one of the best places to do some holiday shopping. It's still important, however, to plan, budget, and research to get the most out of your shopping dollars.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Daniel B. Kline has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.