Many holiday shoppers can tell personal tales of navigating crowded stores on Black Friday. 

The unofficial beginning to the holiday shopping season, Black Friday is a day to land great deals for those shoppers who can handle the crowds. 

Beating the crowds on Black Friday might not be possible, but there are ways for shoppers to find great deals even in the most crowded stores.

•Comparison shop. Many retailers release their Black Friday deals well in advance of the day itself. This gives shoppers the chance to comparison shop. Research the difference between deals offered by local and national retailers. 

Local stores off the beaten path may be offering similar discounts to their chain competitors, and the small, locally-based stores likely won’t attract crowds as large as those drawn to large, national chains.

If the differences between sales offered by local and national retailers is negligible, stick to the local stores and enjoy the less hectic shopping experience.

•Make purchases with a cash-back credit card. Consumers who trust themselves to pay their credit card balances in full each month can use cash-back cards to enhance their Black Friday savings. 

Such cards reward consumers with cash back that’s equal to a percentage of each purchase made with their cards. For example, a 2 percent cash-back card will return $2 to consumers for every $100 they spend using their cash-back card. 

While using these cards won’t do much to combat Black Friday crowds, shoppers might be happy to wait online knowing that their Black Friday deals will prove even more rewarding than advertised.

•Arrive early. While the idea of waking up in the middle of the night to shop is anathema to many people, doing so is a great way to land Black Friday deals. And because many retailers now offer midnight sales on Black Friday, shoppers who can stay up to midnight and beyond won’t even have to drag themselves out of bed to score great deals. 

Shoppers should still expect crowds at midnight and overnight, but such crowds will likely be a lot smaller than they will come the morning and afternoon of Black Friday.

•Shop for less popular items. Big-ticket items like televisions and tablets may garner the most attention on Black Friday, but many retailers do not limit their discounts to such items. 

Heavily discounted TV’s and tablets might sell fast, so shoppers who don’t need such items or are willing to wait until they go on sale later in the holiday season can focus instead on items that may be just as treasured by their loved ones. Scour Black Friday ads to find deals on items that might not catch every consumer’s eye, then focus your attention on finding these items when you visit stores.

Crowds might compel some shoppers to avoid Black Friday, but there are many ways to land great deals on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

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