In the not-so-distant past, Black Friday and its sister shopping holiday, Cyber Monday, were the exclusive domain of American bargain-hunters.
But no more! Many Canadian retailers and shoppers are getting on board, especially with Cyber Monday — a term for the day online retailers offer deals similar to the Black Friday discounts at bricks and mortar stores.
Last year, Moneris Solutions reported Cyber Monday spending in Canada jumped more than 29% from 2012. And shoppers are on the hunt for a variety of items. Heather Sinclair, marketing manager at CyberMondayDealsCanada.ca, says her site’s biggest hits in 2013 included sporting goods, electronics and fashion.
This year Cyber Monday falls on Dec. 1, and many Canadian retailers will be offering deals similar to those of their American counterparts. John Fanous, vice-president of shopper marketing at Mediative and RedFlagDeals.com, says deals will likely focus on electronics and toys.
But no matter what you’re shopping for this year, here are a few tips to help you achieve Canadian Cyber Monday success:
Scout out deals in advance: Most retailers start to leak their major Cyber Monday deals a few days beforehand. One of the best ways to find out about as many as possible is through your social networks.
“Follow that retailer on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram for that matter, and that will be one of the first places that a lot of the retailers will start to release their big deals,” Fanous says.
Stephen Weyman, who runs the How To Save Money blog, suggests visiting sites like RedFlagDeals, Bargain Moose or SmartCanucks, where Cyber Monday discussion boards may help you separate a good deal from a mediocre one. Running products through price comparison sites may also be useful. Some sites list several store sales in one place, for those looking to compare deals.
Have a strategy: Similar to the Black Friday "doorcrasher" deals, where stores slash prices on certain items for a limited time, Sinclair says many web retailers offer "webcrashers" starting at midnight on Cyber Monday — and these sell out quickly.
To take advantage of Cyber Monday deals, preparation is key, says Weyman. Find out exactly when a sale is scheduled to start, go to the website 30 minutes ahead of time and regularly refresh your browser. Having an account set up on the store’s website or your credit card information on file will also help you complete your purchase faster.
Look for extras: Along with deep discounts, many stores like to attract shoppers with free shipping on Cyber Monday, which can result in significant savings, especially on smaller items, says Sinclair.
Some stores may also offer rewards points. Weyman’s best deal last year, for example, was a buy-one-get-one free offer on digital movies that came with bonus points for two free tickets to the movie theatre.
Watch for fine print: Finally, while it may be tempting to buy a few deals from American retailers, be aware of the exchange rate if the price is quoted in U.S. dollars, or there's a duty charge at your door, says Sinclair.
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