Cyber Monday is the term slapped on the Monday after Thanksgiving when shoppers take their holiday buying online. A consumer trade group came up with it in 2005 after they noticed a spike in online sales that day. The Associated Press estimates that this will be the biggest Cyber Monday for a third year in a row. If you plan to partake in the online spending spree, be sure to add a method to your madness.
Shopping online offers more places to splurge but also opens up more opportunities for cyber criminals to take advantage. Plus just surfing the web for random deals may not be the best way to find the best deals. What is a well meaning holiday shopper to do?
Here are some tips on how to shop smart on Cyber Monday
1.) Make a holiday shopping list. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s the best way to start. If you know exactly what you’d like to buy, you will know what sites to hit first. So if a Samsung Tablet is on your list, you will know to check out sites like Amazon.com, TigerDirect.com or Newegg.com as those sites offer electronics. For clothes, major retailers like Target.com, Macy’s.com and JCPenney.com are places to go to. For the Downton Abbey fans on your list, definitely surf over to ShopPBS.org for discounts and shipping deals.
2.) Check out the brick and mortar and major online retailers first. Major retailers and online sellers are reliable sites to try first because their online security is basically solid. The very aptly titled site Cybermonday.com has done most of the homework for you by compiling the deals of major retailers in one area. Be more scrupulous of sites you are not familiar with, of course, though you should still purchase from them. (Many of them are small business sites and resellers.) Make sure you thoroughly read terms and conditions, shipping policies and return policies. Save the site names on your list before you buy and proceed to tip 3.
3.) Do price comparisons using these online sites. Nextag.com is a site where you can plug in the item you’d like to buy and it brings up a list of sellers with the prices beside it. Google Shopping also performs price comparisons online. (And you can find apps for it in the Google Play store.) Another site to check out is Pricegrabber.com and there is also old reliable Amazon.com.
4.) Use social media. Social media seems to be the answer to everything these days. But is truly a good idea to jump on Twitter and Facebook to search for deals. Use the hashtag #cybermonday when you log on to Twitter to read the online chatter on what deals other people are finding. On Facebook, look at the ads that target you from particular brands.
5.) Check your email inbox. If you have signed up for retailer or credit card email lists or with group discounters like Groupon or Livingsocial, you’re probably innodated with deal news daily that you ignore. This time pay attention to them. Because you are on the email list, you’ll probably receive “exclusive” Cyber Monday coupons and rebates.
What are your Cyber Monday shopping tips? Post them here. By the way many retailers are extending the deals to a Cyber Week, so you can share some of your advice throughout the week too.