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Shopping Tips: Making the Most of Cyber Monday Deals

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Image via Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock

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Cyber Monday was invented by the e-commerce community back in 2005. Legend has it that Shop.org coined the term in a press release alerting retailers to a new trend: as people returned to their desks after Thanksgiving weekend, they were shopping online for deals and holiday gifts, making the post-holiday Monday one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.

Despite the unsexy name, Cyber Monday has caught fire since its inception, averaging more than 15% growth each year since 2005, according to ComScore. Which makes sense, since it's really a win-win situation: Online retailers want a cut of Black Friday sales and are willing to match in-store discounts to get them. Meanwhile, many customers would rather not spend their Thanksgiving holiday camping outside of Best Buy or fighting over an iPhone to get a deal (though, obviously, there are exceptions to that rule).

As with everything e-commerce, however, the landscape seems to change just when brands have finally got a handle on it. Online shopping is no longer done only from a desk: Mobile devices and tablets are taking a larger share of the retail pie than ever before, which means e-commerce sites can now easily participate in the Black Friday madness (and, boy, did they ever). So with m-commerce rising at such a dizzying rate, is Cyber Monday on the decline?

The short answer is no.

Judging from the number of serious sale offerings going down today, brands are still going after Cyber Monday customers with all they've got. We spot-checked a few of the deals to see if they're as good today as they were on Friday. They are. The discounts at many brands are about the same on Friday and Monday, while some of our favorite retailers (Nasty Gal, Kate Spade, Pamela Love) saved their best or only online sales for Cyber Monday.

We asked Charlie Graham, Founder/CEO of sale-tracking site Shop It To Me, how to get the most out of the day's discounts. "Well, it depends on the item," he told us. "Some items never go on sale, so if you see those items on sale during the holiday weekend, by them. For most items, the average discount online last year during November/December was around 40% off, so use that as your barometer. If you're considering an item and it beats that 40%-off hurdle, you may want to scoop it up while you have the chance."

Graham says that for most people, the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend is a good time to shop because with so much merchandise on sale, you are likely to see the items you actually want at big discouts of 30% to 50% off (and usually with a free shipping bonus).

For the extreme bargain hunters, however, he advises patience. "While the Black Friday/Cyber Monday discounts are pretty good, they are not the absolute best of the year. Those days are in August/September and January. But you will find lots of items that won't be on sale anytime else, and keep in mind stuff sells out fast, so you have to act fast."
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