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Cyber Monday Shopping Tips

11/25/2011

by Glenn Platt, C. Michael Armstrong Professor and AIMS co-director

Cyber Monday is a relatively new event. It started in 2005 with a small group of retailers and grew quickly to become one of the highest revenue shopping days of the year. It is based on the premise that people are a bit overwhelmed and often unable to take advantage of Black Friday deals and prefer the access that e-commerce offers. For retailers, besides the obvious "invented shopping holiday,” it offers the ability to move product that didn't sell as expected on Black Friday and target segments (geographic, demographic, and psychographic) that wouldn't always be able to take advantage of Black Friday deals. The best strategies for approaching Cyber Monday are:

1. Check now with online retailers you normally shop from and note whether they are planning Cyber Monday deals. Many retailers are already posting information ("sneak peeks") about their plans, like Target, Kohl's, and Amazon. All the big e-tailers will have deals (BestBuy, Zappos, etc.)

2. Consider using shopping comparison engines – for example, there is a plugin for the Chrome Browser called "Invisible Hand.” Every time you are on a page with a product (from ANY web site), the invisible hand bar pops up and lets you know if you can get it cheaper somewhere else and provides a link. There are a number of other similar products out there. Just because it is on sale, doesn’t mean it's a good price.

3. Consider signing up Amazon Prime – it's well worth it this time of year. You get free two-day shipping (and $4 overnight shipping) no matter how much you buy. This pays for itself in the holiday season alone. Combine it with Amazon Cyber Monday deals and its a great value. (Note: Amazon Prime is FREE for College Students)

4. Prepare a list of what you are looking for ahead of time. This is just good general shopping advice. Know what you want and what a good price is. Don't forget to include shipping in the total price. Then decide what sites you will check on Cyber Monday.

5. There are Cyber Monday aggregation sites that try to find the best deals (like DealNews.com, CyberMonday.com). Owners of these sites are often paid a percentage of sales they push to certain retailers, so take anything they say with a grain of salt. Still, there are deals to be found, but you need to dig around a bit more than usual. 

Glenn Platt, a professor of marketing at Miami University, is an expert in the field of Internet and online retail.  He’s also the co-director of AIMS- Miami’s Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies. Glenn teaches both Internet and social media marketing at Miami. You can find more information here: http://aims.muohio.edu/.

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