Holiday discounts have been around for weeks, and the terms “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” have been more than a little overused. Still, if that second term doesn’t ring a bell, let us shed some light: Cyber Monday refers to the first Monday after Thanksgiving. Whereas Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) is all about huge in-store sales, Cyber Monday is all about huge online sales.
Although we’re firm believers that you can find great deals all year round, there will–no doubt–be some great online savings opportunities on Cyber Monday and we’re going to help you get them. (And, if you’re looking for tips on in-store savings, check out our Black Friday shopping tips).
Get your clickin’ fingers ready because we’re about to do some online saving!
Tried & True Shopping Tips
Whether you’re shopping on Cyber Monday or any other day of the year, there are a few tried-and-true tips that will always save you money and ensure you’re getting the best value. The nice part about shopping online is that you have all of these resources at your fingertips so there’s no reason not to take full advantage. Here they are:
- Use Coupons: We always recommend looking for a coupon before making a purchase and Cyber Monday is no exception. Why not make a great deal even better, right?
- Get Cash Back: These days tons of popular stores from Best Buy to GAP (and many, many more) offer cash back rebates and we highly recommend you take advantage of it! You can get rebates ranging anywhere from 1% to 10% the amount of your purchase. Keep in mind, this is in addition to any sales or coupons you’ve already taken advantage of!
- Use Credit Cards that Offer the Best Rewards: Just like cash back rebates, these savings will be in addition to any discounts you’re getting from sales and coupons.
- Use Discounted Gift Cards: Believe it or not, you can buy gift cards at a discount at Cardpool. Paying $90 for a $100 gift card is like getting $10 free!
- Read Product Reviews: Reliable reviews provide tons of valuable information that helps you determine if the product will meet your specific needs. They’ll also help you avoid the temptation to buy something with a lot of unnecessary extras that you’ll be paying a premium price for even though you’ll never use them. We recommend that you stick with the most reliable reviews such as Consumer Reports, CNet, and Consumer Search.
- Compare Prices: Comparing prices—also known as comparison shopping—is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting a good deal. Once you’ve found the product you want to buy, take a few minutes to find out which store offers it at the best price. Bizrate, Shopping.com, NexTag, Pricegrabber and Google’s Product Search all offer easy ways to compare.
Cyber Monday Shopping Tips
Now that we’ve covered the “classics” let’s dive into some tips that are more specific to Cyber Monday. These will help you get the most value out of this big shopping day.
- Track Recent Sales: An obvious benefit of Cyber Monday is that it comes after Black Friday and all of the deals that led up to it. Keep your Black Friday circulars on hand to compare the offers, or use online reference sites like CyberMonday.com.
- Black Friday—Take Two: A lot of the door buster deals from Black Friday will show up again on Cyber Monday, so if you missed something then, now’s your chance to get it.
- Fill Your Cart Ahead of Time: A day–or even two–before Black Friday, fill up your online shopping cart with the items you expect to purchase. When Black Friday arrives, the discounted price will be automatically updated so it’ll be easy for you scan your cart and see if the items you want are actually on sale. If so, you can easily check out. If not, just delete them from your cart and search for the items on another site.
- Act Fast: Although we encourage you to take a minute or two to check around for better prices and coupons, don’t take too long! Great offers will sell out quickly, so it’s better to act quickly than deliberate. You can always return the items if you find a better price (just make sure the return policy isn’t a costly one). Even better, when you’re shopping online, if you cancel before your order ships, it’s often as though you never ordered it at all.
- Be Prepared for Flash Sales: We expect really hot sales with very short runs—also known as flash sales or lighting deals—to occur throughout Cyber Monday at a variety of popular stores. This means a product may go up at a crazy discount (50% or more), but will only be available for an hour. Blink and you’ll miss it! To be among the first to know, we recommend connecting with your favorite stores now via email, Facebook and Twitter. Some may even publish their schedule before Cyber Monday so you can make a note of it and, hopefully, plan break during the right times during the work day.
- Shop Throughout the Day: Even if a company isn’t running flash sales, they may be releasing inventory or new promotions throughout the day to accommodate different time zones. So, even if a product you want appears to be sold out at 10am, check back again at 1pm because more of it may have “magically” appeared. Even if this isn’t part of the store’s plan, you may still get lucky: if one more more customers cancel their order, that item will be “re-stocked” and will become available again for you to buy.
- Think Outside the “Big Box”: Sometimes we get so caught up in the “big box” items like new TVs, that we forget Cyber Monday is a great day to pick up a lot of “regular” stuff too. Do you need some new office supplies? A few things for the home? Maybe some clothes or a new pair of shoes? None of these are exactly “doorbuster” material, but we’ll still be glad to get a great deal on them and Cyber Monday might just be the day for that great deal.
- Look for Price Adjustment Opportunities: Did you buy something from the same store before, and now it’s cheaper–either at the same store or a competitor–on Cyber Monday? Ask for price adjustment. Your case will be easier if you can show proof of the better price such as by bringing the circular or a print-out of the web page with you. Also, check with your credit card company…some of them offer a price protection service that can handle this for you as well. Part of the beauty of online shopping is that it’s so transparent—finding the cheapest price is always right at your fingertips. And even if a store doesn’t have an explicit price guarantee, they might be willing to give you the refund as a customer service gesture or to remain competitive with their peers.
- On a Long Shopping Spree, Place Multiple Orders: Putting an item in your shopping cart doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get the deal—only buying it does! So, if you’re shopping for a long time, place orders periodically to ensure you get the deals you want. You don’t want to load up your cart only to find that half of the items you wanted are sold out a couple hours later when you’re ready to place your order. Be mindful of free shipping and coupon thresholds too. For example, if you have a coupon for $10 off any purchase of $30 or more, try to place your orders in installments of $30, using a coupon on each order.
Happy shopping this Cyber Monday! Now that you’ve gotten the LOZO, you’ll be sure to get the best deals too.