For those who want nothing to do with the madness that comes with Black Friday and prefer to spend the day after Thanksgiving with loved ones, Cyber Monday provides the chance to scoop up similar doorbuster savings online.
As the Internet continues to grow as a popular destination to buy gifts during the holidays, this e-shopping event is sure to make history again this year.
10 Tips for Shopping on Cyber Monday
Though shopping online is certainly less chaotic than shopping in-store, the frenzy of Cyber Monday sales promotions is overwhelming, and those who try to tackle it without a plan may end up getting duped out of a deal.
To streamline the buying process and make sure you snag savings with less stress, follow these smart cyber shopping tips.
1. Keep Your Payments Safe
Cyber Monday is a workday for many of us, which means we’ll be shopping over our lunch hours and from remote locations. Often, this requires sharing personal payment information over public networks, which puts your financial information at risk.
Always use a secure connection to make a purchase and not those available at your local coffee shop. Also, be sure to use a credit card, as it offers multiple layers of protection against hackers.
Since you probably won’t have a lot of time on Monday to scout products and deals, use the time leading up to Cyber Monday to conduct a little pre-shopping. Sign up for newsletters and notifications from the retailers you plan to shop at for sneak peeks into Cyber Monday deals.
You should also follow your favorite stores on Facebook and Twitter, as retailers are increasingly active on these channels, posting sale updates and exclusive deals throughout the day.
3. Prep Your Browser
Bookmarking the retailers with whom you plan to shop will save you a lot of time on Cyber Monday. You can even start loading up online shopping carts with desired items and save them for checkout. Fill in payment information including shipping and billing addresses to make the process even faster come Monday.
You can also download browser add-ons like InvisibleHand to avoid overpaying. The tool sends you alerts when something you’re shopping for is priced for less elsewhere.
4. Stack Savings
Many Cyber Monday sales represent site-wide savings, but often you can save even more by hunting down coupon codes. You can find the best bargains and discounts online at ClarkDeals.com. Be sure to also check out Coupons.com or another trusted coupon site for access to hundreds of codes to top retailers.
Lastly, search for discount e-gift card codes from sites like Cardpool.com. These arrive in your inbox within minutes so you can apply it to your order almost instantly for deeper discounts.
5. Track Price Fluctuations
Online retailers can change their prices multiple times throughout the day (especially on Cyber Monday) to stay competitive. Such fluctuations can result in a higher online order if you purchase at the product’s peak price.
To keep price changes in check, use an online tool like Camelcamelcamel.com to track sales and receive price drop notifications. If you’ve never tracked prices with Camelcamelcamel, check out our simple how-to guide.
6. Read Return Policies
Returning an online order can be a pain, both from a process and budgetary perspective. Reading online return policies before you make a purchase can save you a lot of headaches.
In addition to return shipping costs, you may be charged restocking fees on large purchases like electronics and appliances. Some stores pay for return shipping while others allow you to return online orders to their physical stores free of charge. You also want to determine if you’ll receive a refund or get a merchandise credit for your return.
7. Know What to Shop For
Despite retailers’ best intentions to convince you otherwise, not everything is a good buy on Cyber Monday. Knowing what the top offers are beforehand will keep you focused on buying only those items that represent a good deal.
Gadgets, shoes and cookware are all typically great buys on Cyber Monday. It’s typically better to hold off on purchases like toys and winter apparel until prices drop further closer to the holiday.
8. Understand Free Shipping
Shipping isn’t really free if you have to spend more to qualify for it. Many online retailers require a minimum order to get free delivery knowing that shoppers are willing to add more to their online cart in order to dodge this charge.
You can still get around this without buying more. Instead, sign up for free trials of two-day shipping services or look for retailers who offer a local pick-up option instead. Thankfully, many retailers offer free shipping during the holiday shopping season, including on Cyber Monday.
9. Be on Scam Alert
The best way to avoid being scammed on Cyber Monday is to know what to look for in a credible online retailer. If you’re ever questioning a store’s legitimacy, search for it on the Better Business Bureau‘s website. Pay attention to anything that seems “off.” If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
10. Comparison Shop
Before you make any final purchases on Cyber Monday, take the time to price-compare. Use a website like Google Shopping to see the current prices available from different online retailers and make sure you’re getting the best price. If you’ve never used this tool before, check out our simple guide on how to use Google Shopping.
It only takes a few minutes to find your purchase online and skim through other available prices, but it could help you find a much better deal!
Cyber Monday is a great time to take advantage of some of the year’s best deals and if you play your cards right, you’ll be able to save big. Before you start shopping, keep these strategies in mind:
- Take your time. Price compare, shop around and know the return policy before you make your final purchase.
- Plan ahead. Get your browser ready, know what deals you’re looking for, find coupons and stack your savings.
- Watch for scams. Never enter your personal information on a public network or on a questionable website.
What are your best tips for Cyber Monday? Share them with us in the comments below!