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Cyber Monday is gearing up to be a near-insane bonanza of online sales, if the current Black Friday deals are any indicator. Due to the sheer volume of sales out there, the good old scroll-until-you-see-something-good technique might not be the best plan of attack anymore.
When treated as a true art form and not just a virtual grab bag, shopping on Cyber Monday can result in much more exciting finds than stocking stuffers and future final-sale castaways. But there are rules and tricks and strategies to be master before being released into the games. We consulted some of the top online-only retailers in the biz to learn the secrets to successfully conquering one of the biggest sale days of the year.
Know the rules: "Check out the price adjustment policy of you favorite stores and shop the best styles before the sale rush," says Brooke Taylor Corcia, founder and CEO of The Dreslyn. "If you're within the window, customer service will apply the discounts after purchase. You'll score the deal and walk away with the best pieces!"
Don't do the hard work yourself: "Set a Google alert for a specific product you're looking for," recommended Kate Davidson Hudson and Stefania Allen, the co-founders of Editorialist. "It's a quick way to stay on top of new arrivals and price-comparison shop without a deep internet dig." They also pointed out that if a retailer has a live concierge team available to customers, ask them to send alerts and search products for you. "It will streamline your shopping process and cut down on your search time during office hours."
Skip the desktop: "Shop apps wherever possible instead of mobile sites or desktop browsers," advised Tracey Lomrantz Lester, Gilt's senior editorial director. "Those platforms are meant to be the most transactional, so they're often much simpler in terms of checkout process and page load time."
Weigh out each item's desirability: "We take our online shopping very seriously, and when it comes to Cyber Monday, we favor a strategic approach," says Sasha Sarokin, the buying manager for Net-a-Porter. "It's all about staying focused and putting your edit skills to work in order to seek out those style steals." Sarokin laid out her steps for success: keep an eye on items that you've had your eye on all season long, watch out for exclusive or limited-edition items that would normally be über-hard to get, and keep tabs on the items you've never seen go on sale—because if they do get discounted, it won't be for long. "Cyber Monday is usually our only chance to pick up that perfect piece before it goes back to full price the next day," said Sarokin.
Put together a strategy and stick with it: "It's best to shop with a plan," Elle Strauss, Shopbop's fashion director, tells Racked. "For example, if you need a winter coat just stick to that; that way, you'll stay focused and not waste money on items that you'll probably never wear—even if they seem like a steal." (But did she see that Otte sale?!)
Brand emails can be treasure troves: "Sign up for newsletters," says Erica Cerulo, co-founder of Of a Kind. "Many retailers—Of a Kind included—announce exclusive offers there." Feel like your promos tab might burst if one more daily email drops in? Cerulo noted that the unsubscribe option is always available after the sale season has come and gone.
Don't forget the brand apps, either: "Be sure to download your favorite brand's apps before Cyber Monday," said Jackie Nasser, Rue La La's fashion director. "Brands might have pre-sales, and you don't want to miss out on those." Cerulo's last tip applies here too—you can always delete the app afterwards.
Make a personal gift list: "Don't forget to gift yourself," says Daniella Yacobovsky, one of BaubleBar's co-founders. "Those holiday party outfits aren't going to create themselves." No judgment for those who started here and worked their way up to other gift lists.