Long before the pandemic made it a matter of public safety, online shopping was already becoming the preferred way to score holiday gifts.
Cyber Monday continues to boom year after year: Shoppers spent a record $9.4 billion during the digital sales holiday in 2019, up 19.7% from the year before, according to research from software maker Adobe.
If you’re taking part this time around, make sure you’re familiar with the essential skills and resources you’ll need to make the most of your money. Here are five shopping tricks to get you ready for the Cyber Monday hunt.
1. Use technology to compare prices
When you finally spot the perfect gift, it’s tempting to throw it in the cart and cross a name off your list.
Not so fast: Are you sure you’re getting that product for the lowest available price?
You don’t need to scour the internet yourself. With a free browser extension, you can instantly search other sellers to check for better prices.
Once the extension is installed, the next time you shop on Amazon you’ll be notified if there’s a lower price available at another online retailer. It even takes taxes and shipping into account.
The days of having 50 tabs open on your computer are over.
2. Buy 2 (or 7)
Most people wait for Cyber Monday to splurge on big-ticket items for themselves or others. However, if you keep your eyes peeled, you can get great discounts on products you use all year.
So when a Cyber Monday deal hits your favorite makeup or aftershave, go nuts.
Some stores will offer discounts when you buy more than one. If not, you’ll still save money by buying in bulk when prices are at their lowest.
You can even double up when it comes to gifts. Did prices get slashed on a nifty wooden box of assorted pressed teas? Don’t hesitate to pick one up for all the tea lovers in your life.
3. Find (available) coupon codes
Many people spend hours clipping out paper coupons and hunting for promo codes online. It takes a lot of work, but the extreme couponers out there swear by the savings.
Now, imagine if you had instant access to available coupon and promo codes.
One of the other features of that browser extension we mentioned earlier is a database of coupon codes gathered from millions of other online shoppers. When you go to check out, the service will automatically apply any codes available to the items in your cart.
Won’t you feel smart knocking a few extra bucks off that already discounted item.
4. Read the fine print on shipping and return policies
With so many competitors vying for your money, stores are going to chop their prices down to get your attention. But unless you dig deep into all the possible fees, that doorbuster might not be as cheap as you think.
First, investigate the shipping policies of your favorite retailers. Some may offer free shipping on Cyber Monday purchases, even if they don’t at other times of the year. Others may lower the bar to qualify for free shipping.
But if you’re planning on sourcing gifts from retailers across the web, make sure you’re not blowing all your discounts on sky-high shipping costs.
You’ll also want to review the return policy before clicking the “buy now” button. You don’t want to buy the wrong size shirt, only to find out that item was final sale.
5. Bookmark your favorites
Being a super online shopper means being super organized.
Try creating a separate bookmark folder to keep tabs on ideas for each person on your list. Or narrow down your search by bookmarking your favorite retailers and product pages.
If you get started early, you can use that browser extension or its app to set price alerts on specific items. If an item goes on sale at any point during the holidays, you’ll be the first to know.