Four days after Thanksgiving is one of the biggest sales days of the year – Cyber Monday. Many shoppers are primed to pounce on deals through their smartphones, tablets and computers to save money and cross items off their holiday gift lists. In fact, more than 60 percent of American consumers are expected to shop online this Cyber Monday. Here are 8 Cyber Monday shopping tips to help you score some great deals on Monday, November 27.
Create a “To Buy” List
Put a list together everything you plan to buy and who you are buying for. If you are holiday shopping, make sure to talk to your friends or family for gift ideas in advance so you know what to look for. A list will help you focus on what you want or need, and prevent impulse buys.
Plan Where You Want to Shop
Many retailers will advertise their big Cyber Monday deals weeks before the big sales day. The best way to be notified about upcoming deals is to sign up for store mailing lists. A quick internet search of your favorite stores should also give you a good idea of what items will be discounted and when.
Another good way to find out about sales is by following popular bloggers on social media. Many companies send them to advance notifications of sales so they can share them with their followers and get people excited about Cyber Monday.
Once you know what will be on sale, figure out what online retail stores you want to shop on Cyber Monday. Popular items or products with steep discounts will sell fast, so you’ll need to know exactly where to go and when to get the items you want. Bookmark the store websites and product pages in advance and set reminders on your phone for sales that start at specific times so you won’t miss an opportunity to purchase a discounted product with low inventory.
Just because you discover a product will be on sale for Cyber Monday doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t find a lower price at another retailer. Take time to compare prices. Many sites like pricegrabber.com make comparing prices a snap. You also need to factor in shipping costs as they will vary by retailer. If you plan on getting multiples items from one site, check to see if they offer deals like free shipping if you spend a certain amount of money. Some stores also allow customers to pick up the items you buy online at no charge.
Look for Coupon Codes
Before you start buying from stores on Cyber Monday morning, check the retailer sites you plan to hit and see if they take promo codes. Many stores won’t allow promo codes on Cyber Monday because of the already steep savings offered, but some might. Investigate sites like RetailMeNot and Groupon to see if you can save additional money.
Work Out a Budget
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of Cyber Monday, so it’s a good idea to outline a budget so you don’t spend more than you can afford. If you are looking to buy holiday gifts for friends and family, make sure you know how much you can comfortably spend on each person ahead of time.
Set up Store Accounts
On Cyber Monday, you’ll want to buy items as quickly as you can. You may only have seconds to purchase a discounted item before it sells out on Cyber Monday, so it’s important to give yourself the best chance. Setting up an account on a store’s website before Cyber Monday will give you a big advantage over other shoppers. By creating an account, your name, shipping address and credit card information will already be recorded. You may even be able to add the items you want to your cart in advance. On Cyber Monday, all you’ll need to do is sign in, make sure your items are discounted and check out.
Aside from the computer, many stores now have Android and iOS apps for your phone or tablet that designed to make shopping easier on Cyber Monday. These apps may even contain unique deals at different times of the day. Check your cell phone or tablet for any store apps that might interest you.
Know Store Policies and Save Order Confirmations
More and more retailers have become strict in their receipt requirements for returns and exchanges. Knowing the store policies can save you a headache if you need to send an item back. Check them in advance as each retailer will have different rules. If you aren’t allowed to return or exchange certain products, you may want to consider shopping elsewhere, especially if you are buying gifts.
When you do buy an item, make sure to keep an electronic record of your purchases by having retailers email all order confirmations or receipts sent to the same email address. Create a folder in your email named “receipts” or “gifts” for future reference. If you prefer physical documentation, print receipts when they show up on screen by clicking on an on-screen Print button or by using the command PrtSc or Ctrl + P. If you are buying gifts, remember to get gift receipts for each item. Gift receipts make returns or exchanges easier for the gift recipient. They include a description of the item, but not the price, and can be placed inside a gift box.
Secure Your Shopping Experience
When purchasing online always look for the HTTPS lock symbol in your browser address window to make sure the site is secure. When you set up store accounts do not use the same password for every site. Passwords should contain a mix of upper- and lower-case characters, numbers and symbols.
If you plan to use your tablet or smartphone to shop on Cyber Monday, use a trusted vendor’s app instead of the web browser. Always download from your mobile device’s official store, such as Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store. Don’t ever download via the browser.
The last thing you want on Cyber Monday is to see your computer compromised by malware. Make sure you also have a security program like Norton Anti-Virus or Malwarebytes on your computer. Many hackers will be looking to take advantage of shoppers on Cyber Monday. Don’t put your personally identifiable information, credit card numbers, bank accounts, and other data at risk.