November 23, 2011 at 7:33 PM CST - Updated June 25 at 11:36 PM
Cyber Monday is the first weekday after Black Friday, and a day in which an increasing number of bargain hunters are doing their shopping. Last year Cyber Monday sales topped $1 billion for the first time, reflecting increasing sales over the past five years and 16% higher than sales for 2009. Consumers are finding shopping via the Internet a more popular option, it's may be more convenient, faster and easier than battling the crowded retail stores of Black Friday. The deals are as good and sometimes even better.
However, there are some downsides. There are no clerks around to answer questions. You can't see and feel the goods and products or try them on for fit. If you want to see yourself in a full length mirror with what might be your new winter coat or hat you won't be able to. (For additional reading, check out: How To Prevent An Online Shopping Nightmare.)
Nevertheless, there are many reasons to recommend Cyber Monday. Consumers who do their research and understand the deals offered will snag the bargains while sitting at their keyboards, far from the hassle of congested retail stores where the products up for sale are often quickly sold out.
Start Here A good place to start is at http://www.cybermonday.com/. This huge website with links to various major retailers, offers coupons, special deals, free shipping and about every imaginable category of product and service. Among the major retailers advertising deals on this site are Sears, Staples, Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Lowes.
Category Links And whatever you're looking for, it's available. Click on the category link and the offers will pop up. Among the categories are:
--Apparel Accessories for babies, kids and maternity wear --Apparel for men, women and teens --Health, exercise and fitness equipment --Beauty and skin care products --Toys and games --Books, magazines and newspapers --Music and movies --Computers and electronics --Audio, and video cameras --Still cameras --Cell phones --Concert events --Cruises --Office and school supplies --Food --Flowers --Gift baskets --Auto parts and services --Bed and bath products --Home improvement products --Halloween costumes
Shipping for many items on the above list is free.
Most of the Majors Are Online If you don't find your favorite retailer onhttp://www.cybermonday.com/, enter the retailer's name in the Google or Yahoo search window. Chances are, if the retailer is a major player, it will have a website with plenty of attractive offers.More smaller and specialty retailers, including gourmet grocers and bakers, clothiers and art galleries, have established websites as Internet sales have increased and the buying trend continues upward.
Retailers on Facebook and Twitter Some retailers have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, and encourage consumers to interact with them. Both positive and negative feedback is encouraged, and consumers can post their gripes as well as their praise and compliments. You can also sign up for e-mail bargain alerts, so that you'll be among the first to know when a special deal is available.
Buying Via Smart Phone Some retailers are set up to sell via Smartphone. If this is your preferred option for shopping, check out your favorite websites to see if it's available.
Check Those Deals by the Hour Throughout Cyber Monday, many stores offer new deals every hour. If you've got the time and patience to track these bargain-priced offerings, it pays in dollars saved.
The Bottom Line Cyber Monday is gaining in popularity because it's convenient, it saves time and money, and it side steps the crowds and the often sold out widely advertised bargains. But you can't see and feel the goods, try on the clothing or find a clerk to answer your questions. Nevertheless, Cyber Monday seems to be the wave of the retailing future as more consumers every year chose to use this easy way to shop. (For additional reading, check out: Shopping Online: Convenience, Bargains And A Few Scams.)