Black Friday Deals: Stores study your shopping habits and roll out plans to help you save

CLEVLEAND - As shoppers, many of you put a lot of time into planning your attack for Black Friday trying to get the best deals. The stores have also been planning, researching, and studying you.

We asked retailers about the psyche and the secrets behind Black Friday.

"What is the number one priority?" asked JCPenney Store Manager Donovan Lee to a group of department heads at a brief meeting. "The customer service!" shouted the team. 

At the South Park Mall JCPenney's store, Lee showed us what rolling out Black Friday means when it comes to keeping things organized, realizing hot items like women's boots will be in demand, and detailing strategies in their "War Room."

Just like you do your homework on what deals are where, stores have been watching you. They design the store layout and product placement to fit your tendencies.

Be part of 'Shop on the run'; get Black Friday deals

"So, if a customer is shopping in this corner for instance," said Lee, as we stood in front of a new Disney display. "What are (customers) likely to want in addition to that?" he added about the question retailers ask themselves.

Same concept goes for people running Target stores.

"(People at the Target headquarters) do take a look at statistical data," said Target District Team Leader Kevin Lloyd. "They take a look at shopping trends and patterns and one of the things we want to do is ensure that the guests have different parts of the store to shop," he explained.

Target is planning to hand out store-specific maps like the one Lloyd showed us in Medina. It shows people where the Black Friday deals are. There are also digital maps that you can study ahead of time on Target's mobile app. The app even allows you to find that Furby you want or anything else down to the in-stock status and specific aisle.

"That way they don't have to rush to one part of the store and not know exactly where to go," said Lloyd. "This map makes it very easy for them to shop and have a great experience with us."

Plus, as stores are stocking up, they're also thinking outside of the box. In addition to the great deals they advertise for Black Friday, there are some secret savings, too.

"This year you can spend $100 and you get $25 in free gift cards," explained Lloyd. "So, it's an extra incentive for the customer…something we don't normally do," he added.

Donovan also said they don't usually show off this year's free snow globe early that will be given away on Friday at 4 a.m. But he allowed our camera to take video of the special gift which he said was the first time on television that they were being shown this season.

Target also has some inside deals, but specifics were hard to come by.

"Doorbusters that we haven't announced yet," said Medina Target Store Team Leader Susan Jennings. "So, (customers) will have to come into the store and see what we have to offer," she added with a smile.

We do know that before you bust down those doors, so to speak, Target plans to hand out tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis for key items that have limited stock. So, you'll know when the good stuff is gone.

South Park Mall is handing out a different kind of experience as it plans for the first time to stay open from 8 p.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Friday. That's 26 straight hours. It's bringing in family entertainment.

"It's part of the atmosphere," said Andy Selesnik, who is the marketing director at South Park Mall in Strongsville.

"We have a DJ. We have strolling choirs. (They are) just things to make it more fun to really make it the holidays," he told us.

No matter the angle retailers or malls are taking, they all look at Black Friday as their "Super Bowl" and said they to see you win.

South Park Mall even has coupons that will be in the Plain Dealer for people who live around the mall, at the mall itself, and at the mall's website.

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