It’s the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The leftover turkey Tupperware is getting all the attention as turkey sandwiches have been the meal of choice for the past 2 afternoons, and the home made macaroni and cheese – oh, who are we kidding? There’s never any leftover mac’n’cheese. Either way, it seems the only way those pants are going to get any looser any time soon is if you’re emptying the wallet. You wised up a few years ago and have decided to skip the long lines and manic mobs that make Black Friday shopping so unappealing, but those deals on the hottest Christmas presents are too good to pass up. That’s why tomorrow, Cyber Monday, is your deal-day of choice.
Now, while you’re far less likely to get trampled by a group of deal-thirsty consumers from behind your laptop screen, Cyber Monday doesn’t come with its own share of risks. Knowing and following this 4-Step Cyber Monday Survival Guide will make sure to get your deals safely, securely, and in a timely manner. And for the love of God – will someone PLEASE make another batch of that Mac-n-Cheese?!
- Do Some Research Up Front
- Before everyone begins pulling up to your house and the family frenzy begins, take some time to look for the best deals online. Businesses will often advertise their Black Friday and Cyber Monday offerings in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. More often then not, you will find the same deals that they advertise in the stores on their website. So take a glance over those colorful Best Buy, Target, and Walmart ad pages before you chuck the whole newspaper into the trash next time.
- Take Advantage of Ads
- As an internet marketer by trade, I want to pull back the curtain a little bit on those ads you see on Facebook, YouTube, and basically everywhere else you go on the internet. Have you ever noticed what happens if you go to a product page on Amazon and read through the reviews, click through a couple different sellers, see what different colors the item comes in, but don’t end up buying the item? Almost guaranteed the first thing you see when you get on facebook is an ad for that exact product from Amazon. This is because of a marketing process called “remarketing”. You’ve probably heard about cookies on the internet. Remarketing takes a cookie and stores it inside of your browser whenever you visit a page. It then tells websites like Facebook and YouTube to show you ads when it recognizes a specific cookie. Think of it like getting a wrist band at a street festival. Because you can be identified as someone with a wrist band, vendors will know that they can sell you a tasty adult beverage. They’ll simply ignore everyone without one. It’s the same idea. All of this to say, a very popular method of remarketing is to offer discounts to people who have unbought items in their shopping cart after a certain period of time. While it won’t work for a lot of the bigger websites like Amazon, try leaving an item from your favorite ecommerce store in the shopping cart for 3 weeks to see if that company hits you with a remarketing ad for 10% off your order!
- Protect Your Identity
- Protecting your identity is even more important to be aware of online than it is when you’re out at a store. Making sure you keep track of your bank account balances is one way to easily monitor if money you didn’t spend is being stolen. Make sure to report any suspicious activity to your bank as soon as you see it. The best way to make sure that your information isn’t easily open to hackers who are looking to steal your identity is to ensure that any site that you put any personal information into starts with an “https://” in the address bar. The “s” stands for “secure” and means that the developers of that website have taken the precautionary steps to make sure that your data is encrypted and made unavailable to any random passer by who knows how to run a little bit of code. Depending on what browser you use, you may even see an icon of a lock near the address bar. Make sure to check for that icon any time you put your credit card, email, address, phone number, or any other personal information into a page you don’t already know and trust.
- Let Technology Do the Work for You
- Wondering if you are getting the lowest price or the best deal? Tired of searching for coupon codes? There’s an app for that. Here are three of them below.
CamelCamelCamel, available for Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox web browsers, can track price fluctuations on Amazon to make sure you’re not leaping at a discount that’s actually small margin off a previously marked up price.
Invisible Hand, also available for Chrome, Firefox, and Apple’s Safari browser, shows you a discreet notification while you shop online that will alert you to a lower price at another online retailer. It even has an iPhone app so you can take its price-matching tech on the go.
Honey, another browser extension, tries a different approach, and automatically searches the web for coupon codes applicable to your purchases at online retailers before you check out. If it finds one, it’ll automatically apply it to your cart to save you money. While it doesn’t find discounts for you or make sure you’re getting the best price, it does go that extra mile to save you a little cash before you click “purchase.”
Follow these rules, and you can consider yourself a professional cyber Monday shopper. Now… how long until that Mac’n’cheese is done?!