By this point everyone knows of Cyber Monday; the first Monday after the long Thanksgiving weekend in which retailers advertise huge discounts to online shoppers. This round of shopping is designed for those who would prefer not to engage in the sometimes rugby like skirmishes that happen on Black Friday, the big sales day at brick and mortar locations. In addition, online shopping can appeal to the savvy bargain hunter for the ease in which they can comparison shop. Also, let’s not forget the attraction of shopping in comfort, lounging in pajamas in one’s own home.
Still, online shopping is not without it’s pitfalls. Following some simple guidelines can save a great deal of hassle, while at the same time aiding in keeping important credit and identity information private.
If it looks too good to be true it probably is
Stick to trusted websites and avoid links to obscure or strangely titled web hosts. Read and understand the return policy of the store you are purchasing from. If in doubt, email and ask before purchasing. Use a credit card. Federal Law protects credit card charges and allows for mediated charge disputes.
Be sure your computer and internet connection is completely secure, with an up to date firewall, virus protection, and anti-malware/spyware software. This is an important step for all internet users. If you are unsure as to the best ways to protect your system, consult a professional such as those at Silverleaf computer services.
These few steps can go a long way toward making your online shopping experience safer and easier while saving the most money on all your purchases.
For one stop shopping information and updates, check out CyberMonday.com It is a clearing house website which collects information and advertisements from a variety of retailers.
To get some perspective on the shopping that Cyber Monday engenders, it’s instructive to look at last years figures. Overall, CNNMoney reports that in 2012 Thanksgiving weekend online sales grew 68% over the year before with 30% of the total increase happening on Cyber Monday alone. Total sales were over $1.5 billion. The majority of the sales happened before 12pm, and electronics were the most popular buying category.
To be sure, not all online sales offer the best deals available. For the sake of comparison shopping, remember that there are a variety of free shopping apps which can be used from your mobile device while in stores, allowing the shopper to compare a variety of sources for any product. Forbes magazine has a list of their favorites here.
ABC News has also compiled a list of users favorite shopping apps here, which include a selection for both Iphone and Android operating systems.
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that Cyber Monday is not the only day of the year when good deals can be found online. In fact, many retailers will artificially inflate prices in the weeks leading up to Cyber Monday, so that the advertised large discounts are really just a return to normal pricing. Also, this time of year is when retailers are attempting to clear out inventory of old models and unsold merchandise to make room for new products to be introduced after the first of the year. If a shopper can wait until after Christmas when new models are introduced, last years inventory can often be had at truly significant discounts. For a somewhat more satirical look at Cyber Monday have a look at this article from Slate magazine.
If you do plan on indulging in Cyber Monday shopping, have a plan in advance for the products you want and how much you plan to spend. If you can follow these few suggestions you can maximize savings and shop safe, without falling prey to a spending frenzy. Good Hunting shoppers!