Cyber Monday

Paula LaBrot

This column is coming out on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and considered to be the first day of the all-important Christmas shopping season for brick-and-mortar stores.   

Super smoking “deals” are offered to shoppers by retailers in the hope of selling higher profit-margin goods at the same time, but they have crossed the line. Now, they open their stores on Thanksgiving eve, promising “doorbuster” deals. Every year there are videos of children being dragged through malls at midnight and graphic pictures of people fighting over a TV or doll. Enough!

The online shopping world’s counterpoint to Black Friday is Cyber Monday. That’s for people like me, who loathe crowds, like to shop in their night clothes and enjoy the ability to buy and mail from home or office. People like me despise the intrusion of frenzied shopping on my most sacred family holiday, Thanksgiving. Please! Just one day free of commerce. One day to gather, to focus on gratitude, to enjoy family and friends.

 

A LITTLE HISTORY

The National Retail Federation (NRF) represents itself as the world’s largest retail trade association and is diligent about keeping up with technology and trends for its members. In 2005, Ellen Davis, a senior vice president of research and strategic initiatives for the NRF, coined the term “Cyber Monday” when it noticed a recurring spike in online revenue and traffic on the Monday following Thanksgiving.

They believed it was because people were making purchases from their computers at work, where the internet connections were faster and their kids couldn’t get a sneak peek at their gifts.” They decided to call it Cyber Monday, because most people referred to the internet as cyberspace at that time.

As connection speeds became faster and more mobile, by 2018, Cyber Monday had become the biggest shopping day of the year. It is bigger than Black Friday. Tomsguide.com reports, “In 2018, Cyber Monday sales surged to $7.9 billion, an increase of 19.3 percent year-after-year, according to data from Adobe Analytics. More than half of consumers shopped from their smartphone….”

 

TIPS FOR SHOPPING CYBER MONDAY

For best results, do your homework ahead of time. Make a list of what you want, and comparison price it before “the day.” The bigger retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Ebay, Levis etc., will publish sale pages. Check them out and check out cybermonday.com.  

The best deals, the “doorbusters,” will start after midnight, Sunday, and peak around 6 a.m. Monday, although there will be new deals popping up all day and into Tuesday.

  • Sign up to get deal alerts from Hip2save.com, by texting “Hip2Save” to 41411, and you will be alerted to hot deals. Text “Stop” to 41411 when you want to cancel.
  • Use a price history tool like camelcamelcamel.com to see if you really are getting a great deal. Just plug in the product web address and you’ll get the price history of the product.
  • For price trackers that help you find the lowest price on products try beta.shoptagr.com or covvet.com. They can alert you right down to your size and color preferences.
  • Invisible Hand (getinvisiblehand.com) is a real-time price comparison tool. It may be a little slow, but that is because it is searching far and wide.

These tools are useful year-round. Be sure to check shipping costs and look for free shipping. If that is not available, make sure you are not getting gouged on mailing costs.

 

SECURITY CONCERNS

Millions of people will be doing online shopping on Cyber Monday, more than 165 million people, according to the NRF.

Of course, this brings out the hackers. Consumer Reports recommends, “Avoid using an unsecured public computer, workplace, or other public WiFi, when shopping because you’ll probably be entering credit card information. Also, make sure the URL of the retailer’s site starts with ‘https,’ not ‘http.’ That means the data is encrypted in transit, so if a hacker does tap into the message, he won’t be able to read it. You should also see an https “lock” (padlock) symbol to the left of the URL.”

Mashable.com advises, “Be very careful on smart phones downloading any fresh Cyber Monday deal apps. The worst are the copycat apps that appear to be legitimate deal apps but whose sole purpose is to infect your smartphones and steal your personal data.”

“Don’t open emails with Cyber Monday attachments. They could be fake coupons which lead you to fake shopping sites or they could be phishing attempts. One clear signal that these sites are not safe is that they will lack the security lock icon. Another is when they’re hosted outside the U.S., so take a good hard look at those Cyber Monday shopping URL’s,” advises Mashable.

 

BE LIKE SANTA…MAKE A LIST

Cyber Monday, like Black Friday, can create shopping frenzies. Remember, you are not a shark smelling blood in the water. It’s Christmas. The Holidays! You are trying to get thoughtful gifts for loved ones and friends. Retailers hike up prices ahead of these dates, so it can look like you are getting a great deal, but not really. Remember, sales go on year-round.

You work hard for your money, so Keep Calm and Shop Wisely…and hold Thanksgiving as a day of gratitude, not greed.

Vamos a Ver!

 

Paula LaBrot
Paula LaBrot

Paula LaBrot is a 30-year resident of Topanga, a futurist with a special interest in the uncharted waters of cyberspace. plabrot@messengermountainnews.com

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