This week in the United States some families are preparing to host Thanksgiving dinner while other families are planning to travel to enjoy their turkey filled holiday with family members and/or friends that they don’t get to see as much as they’d like to. While this holiday has been around since before the U.S. of A. became a nation, another “holiday” hasn’t even reached a decade. Actually this event isn’t as much a holiday as its a tradition … what I’m referring to has been called Cyber Monday since the year 2005.
This year Cyber Monday is happening on December 1st. To assist you in your journey into the World Wide Web to browse the websites of companies such as Amazon, Target, Best Buy, and, yes, even Wal-Mart for great deals on a variety of items I have compiled a few of the shopping techniques I like to use whenever I participate in this shopping tradition.
- Planning: If you are new to online shopping I recommend visiting the websites you plan to shop/browse on Cyber Monday 3-5 days in advance. Create an Account (it’s always free) so that when making purchase on one of the busiest days for internet traffic goes as smoothly as possible. Some websites may even send you a promo code just for signing up. Pretty cool, right? If you have already made an account but can’t remember your password go ahead and reset it. There is nothing worse than finding that perfect gift but missing out on the purchase because you couldn’t remember your password.
- “Window” shopping: You may have thought that this technique was only used when visiting brick & mortar stores, but you can also do this online. Most people have a mobile device that can connect to the internet, utilize this amazing piece of technology and browse whichever websites you plan to purchase from simultaneously by having windows you can switch between with ease. Some companies give sneak previews of their Cyber Monday deals. I did a Google search before writing this article and the only major company I saw with a preview was Wal-Mart. If you find something that you know you want to purchase add it to your wishlist. Even if you are unsure on whether the item will be on sale, add it anyway because you can always check the final price before completing a purchase. If you are like me and use a laptop or desktop computer for internet shopping then instead of opening up several windows just click that new tab option.
- Payment/Shipping: A technique that will help speed up the checkout process is storing credit card information such as the card number, billing address, the address you want to items shipped to (Note: websites don’t usually accept P.O. Boxes), etc. If you are worried about the security of your information just make sure you are on secure servers. They are notated with https:// at the beginning of the web address. If you are shopping on Amazon, they offer the 1-Click checkout option. In my opinion, this is the quickest checkout process amongst the online retailers listed earlier. If you are on a website and that company has a local brick and mortar store in your vicinity then they usually give you the option to ship items to the store for you to pick them up. However, keep in mind that certain items may not be available for shipping to the store.
- Virtual Shopping Cart: One more thing I suggest you do to streamline your Cyber Monday purchases is to login to websites on Sunday, November 30th. On that day move items you have your eyes on to your cart. Doing this eliminates one step from the checkout process you complete on Monday. I must tell you that you should definitely make sure the prices have reflected the discounts for Cyber Monday. If you don’t see a change in price then refresh the page. If that doesn’t work then log out and log back in. Don’t empty your cart unless you have exhausted these previous options. Please take note that this tip isn’t something I’ve done in the past but I plan to do this year.
- Patience/Peak Times: If its possible once midnight hits in your timezone visit a website. You may get lucky and encounter less resistance when completing a purchase. If you are experiencing long load times then just utilize patience or come back at a later time (30-45 minutes later is the average). Some shoppers like to secure their purchases when they access internet at their workplace. Use this to your advantage and get your purchases complete while they are driving to work. I’ve never seen anyone browse websites and make purchases while driving.
Whether you are shopping for yourself, your spouse, or friends/family and regardless if you are planning to spend $20 or $2000 during the tenth Cyber Monday, I hope these techniques help you. Keep in mind that this is the second holiday season that will have the PS4 and Xbox One on store shelves. These items are most probably going to be in high demand again. One more friendly reminder when December 1, 2014 arrives there will only be 23 shopping days left before Christmas. Good luck. Shop smart and shop safe.