If making your way through crowded malls on Black Friday isn’t your thing, don’t think you have to let all the bargains slip through your fingers.
Cyber Monday, a follow-up to Black Friday that takes place on Nov. 26, is an online shopping promotion that gives you access to countless deals available from your desktop or mobile device.
If you’re wondering just how you’re going to snag a great buy if you’re tied to your desk at work that day, no problem. Since most e-tailers kick off their deals at midnight, a strong pot of coffee will keep you up and shopping.
Want to compare your shopping strategy to others? RetailMeNot, a leading savings destination connecting consumers with retailers, restaurants and brands — both online and in-store — reported 78 percent of consumers plan to shop during the Black Friday to Cyber Monday weekend, and anticipate spending an average of $803, up from $743 last year.
Following are eight easy tips for navigating Cyber Monday deals.
1. Do Your Homework
Since millions of consumers will have their hand glued to a mouse or mobile device that day, it’s wise to check and see if your favorite stores are teasing any Cyber Monday deals before they officially launch so you’ll get first crack.
2. Comparison Shop
Don’t click on the first deal you see for that must-have shoe. Comparison shopping is essential when locating the best deal. Like any item, different retailers are likely offering different prices for the same shoe, so buyer beware. Check at least three sites before filling your shopping cart.
Since Amazon continues to be among the top e-tailers on Cyber Monday, the site offers its own shopping guidance. Prime members get 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals across Amazon. You can sign up for daily updates on Cyber Monday deals, Deals of the Day and Lightning Deals. If you’re lucky enough to have Alexa, Cyber Monday Deals start Sunday, Nov. 26, at 5 p.m. PST, exclusively for Prime members. Simply ask, “Alexa, what are your deals?”
And for those who find themselves doing last-minute shopping, these deals run through Dec. 2.
3. Avoid Shipping Costs
A great deal is even better when shipping is free. While online shoe destinations such as Zappos.com always offer free shipping, others often have a minimum purchase before shipping is on the house. So don’t cancel out your online shoe bargain by paying shipping. Since many sites don’t add up the cost of shipping until all your purchases are in your cart, consider a site where shipping charges, if any, are posted on the site before you hit the buy button.
4. Check Return Policies
Return policies must also be considered if shopping for yourself or a gift. While the deal might be amazing, it’s not worth anything if you decide you don’t want the item. Return policies are often extended during the holiday season, often into late January, so determine a store’s policies before buying.
5. If You Don’t Love It, Then Leave It
Don’t buy an item simply because the price is right. It’s only a bargain if you want or need it. It is better to spend a bit more and find exactly what you want, whether you are gifting yourself or a loved one.
6. Get Rewarded
Rewards programs for repeat shoppers are a great way to save the more you buy. If you are not already signed up at your favorite retailer, Cyber Monday might be a good time to start since you will likely be making multiple purchases.
7. Check the Quality
Read consumer reviews before buying. If you think a sale is too good to be true, it might just be a way for the retailer to unload an unpopular style due to quality of fit issues. Check to see if there are any five-star reviews about a shoe before making a purchase.
8. Be Mindful of Budget
Keep your budget in check. It’s easy to find yourself hitting the buy button from site to site. Make a list of what you spend as the day progresses. Even though Cyber Monday is a great time to save, as the holiday gets closer, retailers may offer even deeper discounts.
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