Taking Advantage of “Cyber Monday”
Brick and mortar stores have Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that signals the “official” start to the holiday shopping frenzy. Online stores have Cyber Monday, a term coined by e-marketers back in 2005 to signal the official start of online holiday shopping. (Why Monday? Apparently because it’s the first day back in the office after the long weekend, and more people have access to a computer and a faster ‘net connection. Plus actually working is boring.)
Whether or not you believe Cyber Monday to be the legitimate busiest online shopping day – some researchers put the actual peak of online shopping somewhere in the second week of December, and a lot of the media believes it’s just marketing hype to jump start sales (me included) – some retailers are rolling out sales and specials next Monday you may want to take advantage of. So guys, here’s why you should log on, pour yourself a drink, and get all your holiday shopping done in the comfort of your home.
Advantage 1 – Keep Your Sanity
No traffic. No crowded parking lots. No mobs of screaming kids. No gift-crazed hordes jamming the stores. No overly zealous salesmen. And you can shop in your boxers.
Advantage 2 – Free Shipping
Many online sellers will be offering free shipping or reduced overnight shipping for the holidays. It may not sound like much, but shipping usually tacks on 10-20%of the purchase price – or more for expedited shipping – which most of us just look at as a premium for not having to fight the traffic and crowds at the malls.
Advantage 3 – No Tax
Shop in an online store that doesn’t have a physical presence in your state and you save another 6%-8% over going to the mall.
Advantage 4 – Online Only Sales
A survey by BizRate.com found that 72% of traditional retail stores plan to have “online only” sales and specials on their websites for Cyber Monday, and throughout the holidays. Even places like Home Depot and Lowes are having specials on non-traditional gifts like appliances. A good place to get info on who is offering what is at a site called, appropriately enough, CyberMonday.com.
Advantage 5 – In Store Pick-up
Even if the gift you’re looking for is not on sale, and the site doesn’t offer free shipping, you can still save the hassle of driving from store to store to store to see if that hard-to-find gift is in stock. Find it online and check for in-store pick up. Reserve it, then drive over after peak hours and get it. With your sanity intact.
Advantage 6 – Research
Find something online you like and you can instantly check specs, details, compare prices and check reviews and opinions from several sources. Good luck having the temporary “holiday help” give you any useful information at all on that digital camera you’re looking at. Some good places to start are cnet.com and epinions.com.
Advantage 7 – Less Time and Energy Wasted
Yeah, it’s obvious, but still needs to be said: you can search world-wide for unique and obscure gifts at little known places, in less time than it takes to drive to one superstore.
Honestly, there’s no reason to leave home to shop this season. Especially with football and basketball in full swing on your big screen. Sure there are some things to watch out for when buying online, but if you use your head, you won’t fall prey to the crooks and scammers out there. If you want some tips on shopping online safely, and what to watch out for, like charity scams, or using a disposable email address in case that online store sells it to a bunch of spammers, head over to ZoneAlarm’s Holiday Safety Zone. Which you can also do from the comfort of your home, drink in hand, game on TV, and in your boxers.