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PETERBOROUGH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28: Employees select and dispatch items in the huge Amazon 'fulfilment centre' warehouse on November 28, 2013 in Peterborough, England. The online retailer is preparing for 'Cyber Monday', as it predicts the busiest day for online shopping in the UK will fall on Monday December 2nd this year. On Cyber Monday in 2012 amazon.co.uk recorded over 3.5 million individual items ordered, which equates to 41 items purchased per second. The Peterborough fulfilment centre is 500,000 sq ft, equivalent to approximately seven football pitches in floor area. Amazon are due to employ more than 1,000 seasonal staff to cope with increased demand in the run up to Christmas. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Online shopping tips you’re going to want to know.

Bookmark Your Favorite Retailers’ Websites
Bookmark each useful retail website as you go. If you’re shopping for multiple people, you’ll probably accumulate a pretty long list of options.

Follow Your Favorite Retailers on Social Media
The best way to stay up-to-date on late-breaking retail promotions at any time of year is to follow your favorite retailers on social media. This strategy is especially fruitful during the holiday shopping season and just after, when clearance sales are common. I recommend creating a Twitter list specifically for the retailers you follow.

Stock Up on Discounted Gift Cards
Don’t wait until the holiday shopping season kicks off to start stocking up on discounted gift cards.

Set a Firm Budget
The first rule of Cyber Monday shopping is simple: Stick to your budget. Figuring out how that budget should look in the first place is another matter.

Use a Price Comparison Tool
Don’t pull the trigger on a Cyber Monday purchase until you’re sure you’re getting the best possible deal. Use a price comparison app or toolbar  to see which retailers are offering the lowest prices on the big shopping day. Shopify has a good roundup of legitimate price comparison apps, including some free options.

Avoid Sites With Poor Security Practices
Don’t gamble with your identity. Stay away from retail sites with lackadaisical security practices. Look for “https” at the beginning of the site’s URL. You should never enter payment card information on non-“https” pages, period. If you’re shopping on a mobile device, download your favorite retailers’ verified apps too.

Rise Early or Stay Up Late the Night Before
Most retailers run Cyber Monday sales for at least 24 hours. Many begin them before Cyber Monday itself, or fold them into longer “cyber weeks” or Black Friday weekend sales. If you’re shopping for common products for which demand is measured, you probably don’t have to get up at 1am to snag the best deals. However, if you’re worried about items running out of stock – a common problem on the weekend after Thanksgiving – then you’ll want to shop as early as practically possible.

Shop in Incognito or Private Mode
Do your actual shopping anonymously using your browser’s private or incognito mode. This isn’t a foolproof way to mask your identity to retailers, but it can render you eligible for deals not available to someone with your browsing or purchasing history. Using your browser’s private mode reduces your exposure when you shop at inappropriate times – like, ahem, at work. Even if it doesn’t directly save you money, avoiding your boss’s ire is obviously a good thing in the long-term.

Use a Rewards Credit Card
The right rewards credit card can significantly reduce the cost of your holiday shopping campaign. Department stores routinely appear in the mix, and the category is broad enough to encompass many of Cyber Monday’s most popular retailers.

Monitor Your Bank Accounts, Credit Cards, and Credit Profile for Suspicious Activity
The holiday shopping season is the busiest time of year for credit card fraudsters and identity thieves. If you avoid sites with poor security practices and keep your eyes peeled for potential scams, you’ll reduce your likelihood of victimization, but it’s impossible to cut your chances down to zero. As long as you shop online, the risk is there.

 

What are your most sought after holiday buys. Let us know @theMRLshow