Cyber Monday Shopping
The tradition of holiday shopping has rapidly changed from waiting in lines for your favorite store to open; battling large crowds, pushing, and shoving your way for the last low-priced item. The internet has changed the way we do Black-Friday shopping by creating Cyber-Monday. Cyber-Monday started in 2005 to boost online shopping and quickly became the largest online shopping day. Therefore, we created a list of ways to prepare for the biggest shopping days of the year along with a list of ideas that are great for the person in the office that you just don’t know what to get.
Strategies to prepare for online shopping
A. Internet connection- Having a good internet connection is extremely important. There is nothing worse than finding your shopping cart empty after spending countless moments getting the perfect gifts because you lost connection. While online shopping any other days it might not pose that much of a problem, Cyber Monday’s are not so forgiving of internet buffering or lost connections.
B. Stores- Do your research on what stores will have the best deals. Walmart allows you to sign up to get text notification when deals are announced. Amazon offers several ways to shop and save money, Target has deals daily. Check with your favorite stores to find what deals they are offering and sign up for text/email reminders.
C. Budget- The holiday season tends to bring out the generosity in all of us. With festive Christmas music, visiting with family and friends, decorations, and the promise of outrageous deals, it is easy to get caught up in the buying euphoria. However, it is well to remember you CAN go broke on a good deal, so make sure to have a budget for what you can afford to spend on gifts. You can also go a step further by deciding how much you can comfortably spend on each individual gift and making a commitment not to go over. Yes, this is much easier said than done, but having a plan is much better than going into it blind.
D. Shopping List- The best way to start a shopping list is to break it up in order of importance and WRITE IT DOWN. How many of us, have said to ourselves, of course I know and will remember who to buy a gift for? Only to find ourselves empty handed or spend Christmas eve shopping in vain for the 1 person we missed. Write the list in sections of importance, for instances, buying a gift for household members, significant others, parents and children should be first, co-workers, neighbors, and charity second, and next could be the mailman, paperboy, the nice clerk at the convenience store, and that small extra for that one person who you never would have thought to give a gift to, until they unexpectedly show up at your home, gift in hand.
E. Research shipping fees and return policy- Making sure you understand the stores return policy, especially while online shopping, is very important. It will not matter how much you save on an item if the person the gift was intended for doesn’t fit, is the wrong color, not of use to them, etc. and it can’t be returned. Make sure you are really getting a good deal by checking what the shipping fees are and if the store offers free or in store returns. Check to see if you are offered a reward of free shipping by spending a specific amount. If you are in doubt check reviews and try to avoid websites that offer prices to good to be true. If you plan on having the gift sent directly to the receiver, see if they offer gift wrapping. Also, check to see if the item can be shipped to a local store to save on shipping.
F. Get Newsletters from stores-check for rewards- Many of us get so many emails, that the thought of getting unsolicited emails through out the year, for 1 shopping day, may not seem worth it. However, many stores will send out pre-advertisements to those who are in the system. You do not necessarily need to sign up for every newsletter, or coupon list, just find the stores you plan to shop at and stick to those. Many times, they will send a newsletter, or greeting, with a coupon code to help you save even more. The best thing about signing up to receive coupons or other digital offers is you can easily opt out later.
G. Check shipping frequency- This is a very important detail if not one of the most important items to check while you are planning your online shopping strategy. Nobody wants to be empty handed at a Christmas party or other holiday gathering. Making sure your package will arrive on time is a must. Check and make sure that your items will ship soon after ordering them and set alerts so that you are notified when the item has shipped or if there are any delays. You may also want to check with neighbors and ask if they can watch for delivery if you are not at home or check if you can have them delivered to your work. Nothing is more frustrating than having your packages stolen or misplaced.
H. Let your bank know you will be shopping online- Some bank and credit card companies monitor your card and may restrict the card if they see questionable spending. Make sure your bank knows that you will be shopping online and notify the bank or your credit card company if you plan to make a large purchase. Doing this will help to make check out, smooth and seamless. Also make sure to keep track of the stores you shopped at so you can check any discrepancies. Once you are done shopping check your bank and credit card summary statement making sure you don’t see double purchases and cross reference them with your order confirmation email.
I. Stay up late or wake up early-Check the timing on when each store will start their Cyber deals. Amazon sets days and times based on product type, some stores will start promptly at Midnight while others start earlier in the morning and even times mid-afternoon. This is where the list and budget will come in handy.
J. Go Mobile- There seems to be an app for everything these days. From paying a car payment, playing a game, streaming a movie, or ordering food. Downloading an app is almost always the best way to go. The same is true for shopping. Check to see if the stores you are shopping at have an app and get it set up beforehand. Many apps will let you store online payment making for a fast and secure check out.
Once you have shopped for everyone on your list, checked your list, and checked it once more, put your feet up and enjoy some Christmas cookies and eggnog. It is important to reward your self for a job well done and rest up for wrapping when your gifts arrive.
Office Gifts for $20 or Under
1. Gift Card to their favorite lunch/coffee shop
2. Gift Basket filled with treats, to make it even more special, create the basket yourself.
3. A nice, monogramed pen set
4. Unique USB drive
5. Cute work mug
6. Custom Key chain
7. Digital Gift Card for iTunes, Amazon, or for streaming/gaming services.
8. Christmas movie with microwave popcorn and snacks
9. Warm gloves
10. Plants or succulents for their desk