While enthusiastic parents think of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, as the day to get a jump start on their Christmas shopping, smart parents wait for Cyber Monday to leap into action. The reason is simple: Black Friday is a buying frenzy and chances are good that you will get jostled as people swarm into stores as soon as the doors open and then possibly still miss out on some great bargains because more nimble shoppers have beaten you there. Conversely, on Cyber Monday you can leisurely shop with your computer or mobile device in your pajamas while sipping your favorite beverage.
What Is Cyber Monday, Exactly?
Cyber Monday is similar to Black Friday. It’s a time to get terrific products at steeply discounted prices only available for a limited time. However, since shopping for Cyber Monday is done entirely online, it can be done without any of the effort associated with shopping on Black Friday, like getting to the store before it opens, waiting in the cold, and running around to grab your selected items off the store shelves before other people get to it first.
“Cyber Monday” was a term coined by Shop.org in 2005 after the company noticed a surge in website traffic and a spike in the volume of online retail sales on the first day after people returned to work after a fun-filled holiday weekend.
So, by 2006, the idea was formally embraced by online retailers who offered shoppers all sorts of incentives like free shipping and numerous saving options like rebates, incentives, and discounts. The word quickly spread and five years later online sales were estimated to be around $1.2 billion on this special retail day for computer and mobile shoppers.
Initially, an American phenomenon, now Cyber Mondays have gone global, with Canada, the UK, and a large number of European countries also announcing their own Cyber Mondays. Some online sales may be announced earlier or later than the actual date Cyber Monday falls on, but they all capitalize on the buying frenzy.
10 Ways to Shop Smarter on Cyber Monday
Here is a carefully worked out strategy to shop for the best deals on Cyber Monday:
1. Think ahead. Make a list of all the Christmas gifts you want to buy for family and friends. This list will minimize confusion when you begin shopping as it’s easy to get distracted by new products and low prices.
2. Get organized. Keep everything in a manila folder—printed out of ads, receipts, and a log of everything you buy. This will help you keep track of the best deals, have your receipts in one place for a return or exchange, and budget your holiday spending.
3. Stay informed. By signing up for a retailer’s newsletter, you’ll get email notifications of special deals, discounts, rebates, coupons and other incentives. Another way to stay informed is to use hub websites like dealio.com to track deals across the web.
4.Practice caution. It’s possible to end up buying something from a fly-by-night dealer or receive lower quality products than what was shown and described on a website. Stick with retailers you trust, rather than being tempted by rock bottom prices. Look for privacy notices and security seals. Check out BizRate to find out what other people think of the merchant you’re interested in buying from.
5. Prefer free shipping. Numerous merchants offer free shipping on Cyber Monday to encourage customers to buy. If a merchant is not offering free shipping for the item you want, check if it is available at competitor’s site before you buy. The more money you can save on free shipping, the more money you will have available to shop.
6.Find coupon codes. There are many ways to sweeten the deal by stopping off at places like retailmenot.com or other similar websites. You may be able to get a percentage shaved off the asking price, get complementary merchandise with your purchase, or get free shipping which would normally not be available.
7. Get the best deal. A website like pricegrabber.com will allow you to compare prices to make sure that you get the best deal.
9. Checkout efficiently. Pay attention to make sure that you are entering in the right credit card numbers, billing information, and shipping address. This will prevent you from making careless mistakes like sending your gift to the wrong address or accidentally doubling the quantity you have listed in your shopping cart.
10. Ship directly and on time. You can ship directly to the recipient’s address and you can figure out when the product will be sent out by looking over the shipping deadline posted in the shipping section.