Let the games begin!
That would be referring to the holiday shopping games that officially kick off this week in honor of Black Friday. This particular Friday is named so because it is the start of retailers’ “Super Bowl” where they end up making the bulk of their sales for the year. Thus, their accounting books go from red ink (bad) to black ink (good) — this presupposes that merchants are still using accounting books, of course. Does Quicken have red ink?
Regardless, in the last couple of years, Black Friday has been challenged for dominance in the spending space by Cyber Monday. The theory is that after everyone returns to work from the Thanksgiving weekend, they’ll be spending a large portion of that Monday shopping online.
In terms of numbers, Cyber Monday is huge. We’re talking $3 billion huge last year alone. The question then becomes which is better for the consumer: Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday?
Not sure? We’ll give you a hint: It’s Cyber Monday. On the bright side, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both expanding and you may hear terms like ‘Black Friday week’ and ‘Cyber Week’ used more commonly this year. Plus, with everyone shopping online these days, it’s become easier to compare merchant service providers online. It’s definitely good news that the competitive sales are extending beyond just one day and lots of ‘Black Friday’ deals are available online before Cyber Monday officially starts.
Here are some of the best reasons to shop online via Cyber Monday this year.
No Camping Out
Remember when Thanksgiving was just all about gorging on turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie and then passing out in front of a football game? Old school.
Today, you’ll find a large portion of the population camping out on the sidewalk outside of stores like Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart. They want to be first in line for those obnoxious — that’s right — “door buster” deals.
This has literally meant busting down doors to grab a cheap TV or microwave. What’s better: Spending the night in a tent with strangers to wake up at dawn and have your new best friends trample over you or just clicking your computer for the same deal? No contest.
Just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean it’s a deal. Translation: You could find a better deal online by comparing prices across various different sites.
There are even apps that let you do that instantly with a product number — and you don’t have to worry about getting trampled.
If you’re taking part in Cyber Monday shopping for things you want in your home, you can easily look around to check if it would be a good fit. For example, if you’re shopping for a rug that you want in your living room, it’s so much easier to visualize it while you’re home.
You can check out the dimensions listed in the product description and check if it would complement the rest of your space.
It’s so much harder to remember these details when you’re out shopping.
When you’re shopping from home, you can double check important details before you commit to the purchase. Do you have enough closet space for another pair of shoes? Are the jeans you’re coveting too similar to the ones you already own? You can check for all these things before making your decision.
Use Your Time More Efficiently
The best approach for shopping on Black Friday is to have a designating circler. This would be the person who would drop you off at the store and just circle around the parking lot.
They’re not going to find a parking spot that wouldn’t require a shuttle. Then, once inside the store, you’ll be staring down lines that would make a Krispy Kreme free doughnut giveaway look like a cakewalk.
On Cyber Monday, you can shop in the comfort of your pajamas, for starters. Then, you can find what you’re looking for online, add it to your virtual shopping cart and click to buy in about the same amount of time it took you to read this sentence. It is that fast.
Cyber Monday sales tend to be broader. Discounts are often applied across an entire site as opposed to a specific item.
Plus, if enough of a certain product didn’t move on Black Friday, you can expect even more discounts on Cyber Monday.
Need More Proof That You Should Consider Shopping Online First?
In terms of deals, atmosphere and just about any other category you can come up with, Cyber Monday beats Black Friday in all of them.
However, if you need further proof as to which is better, then let’s go to the video tape of Black Friday Store Stampede.
Best Practices to Consider
While shopping on Cyber Monday has its perks, there are also a few things you should consider to enhance your online shopping experience.
- Realize that some sales are only valid for a limited time. Unlike in-store deals where product is usually available until it runs out, Cyber Monday deals may only be limited to a few hours AND product may run out early so you still need to be active and intentional when shopping online
- Compare deals online. As mentioned earlier, it’s best to compare all the sales whether you’re going to take advantage of Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Just because Best Buy is a prominent electronics retailer, other stores may have better deals for the same products
- Make sure you’re shopping on a legitimate and secure site. There are so many fraudulent websites around these days and you don’t want to give your credit card information to the wrong people or have your email address sold and receive tons of spam. Learn more about shopping safe online here.
- After you’ve crossed everything off your list, unsubscribe from retailers’ mailing list. Retailers will probably be sending out promotions all day/week long. If you’ve already ordered the items you needed, there’s no need to keep receiving salesy emails that could tempt you to go back to the website and overspend.
Extra Saving Tip: When shopping online for holiday gifts, don’t forget to sign up for Ebates so you can earn cashback on your spending. Ebates is similar to Swagbucks, only it rewards you for shopping online by providing cash back for certain purchases made at major retailers. Join for free today and you can get a $10 cashback bonus as soon as you make a qualifying purchase in 90 days.
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