ORLANDO, Fla. - Here's my advice for Cyber Monday: Play hard to get. Experts agree. According to online personal shopper Shop It To Me, consumers should not get lured by discounts of 20 percent or 30 percent off. The site suggests that a deal isn't a really good deal until the final price represents at least 42 percent off the original ticket.
Even when a deal meets or beats 42 percent off, you still have to know your products and identify the most competitive brand in terms of quality and specifications to make sure you're getting, overall, the best bang for your buck.
"Any savings is free money, and when you look at it in terms of free money, why would you not spend the little bit of time it takes to find these deals," says Jeanette Pavini with coupons.com.
Pavini says it's also important to hunt down cybercoupons and coupon codes before you start shopping for an item. She also suggests wearing a cyber poker face. If you fill your shopping cart, then "virtually" walk away, a growing number of retailers will try to lure you back with deals.
"They will send you an email anywhere from two hours to 24 hours after you've abandoned the cart and offer you some type of incentive," Pavini says.
That sounds familiar to me. When I shopped recently for a camera online, I "virtually" walked away from my cart and, within days, I got notifications that the price had come down.
You should also try to exploit the heavy competition between online-only stores and brick and mortar online retailers. Statistics show that for the past two years online-only stores, like Zappos, offered discounts that were more than 5 percent better than department stores' websites. However, those department stores, by necessity, are now monitoring the non-brick and mortars to best compete for your dollars. Consequently, it's more important than ever to shop around, to cast a wider net, if finding the lowest price is your first priority.
Pavini suggests you even try to bargain online via live chat. Ask if you're missing any deals or discounts. If the online representative says "no," then simply ask for a special offer, indicating you'll move on if you can't get a better deal.
Finally, reward yourself. Don't feel guilty if, while shopping for the right gift for someone else, you pick up a little something for yourself. According to Shop It To Me, 85 percent of us spend on ourselves during the holiday season. That's right, that sweater would look great on you. Not to mention that designer watch!
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