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Cyber Monday special promotions

Nov. 26, 2007

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When you return to your office today, you might have another chance to save a bit of money on this Cyber Monday, a special once-in-a-year event eTailers and eCommerce sites offer to their online customers after the Thanksgiving weekend.

According to a survey from the National Retail Federation, about 74.9 percent of eTailers participite in this event. This number is a fairly large increase from the 43.1 percent in 2005.

This special once-a-year event is called Cyber Monday, after online retailers noticed a few years ago that site traffic spiked on that specific Monday after Thanksgiving.

Ellen Davis, a director at the National Retail Federation Agency says Cyber Monday isn't the busiest online shopping day, but that online retailers consider it the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

2007's promotions will include email marketing campaigns with special deals to current customers, as well as one-day savings on particular products. Nearly 25 percent of eCommerce retailers will provide free shipping on all purchases with no conditions attached.

Davis said "overall, free shipping is from the consumer standpoint the most popular incentive."

To find out which online retailers are offering promotions, head to cybermonday.com, which features special deals, some of which are exclusive, from nearly 500 online stores. You can narrow down the list of retailers based on specific needs, such as free shipping or gift cards.

It's especially appealing these days since FedEx and UPS are charging 5 percent fuel surcharges for ground shipping and 16.5 percent for air shipping due to the jump in gasoline and jet fuel costs.

Shopadidas.com plans to offer customers 25 percent off all running and training apparel on Cyber Monday only. "We have started to experience greater traffic increases on this special day throughout the last three years," says Carlene Faessler, e-commerce marketing manager for Shopadidas.com.

Among some of the sites that are participating, JoAnn.com, the online crafts store, will cover shipping for all purchases, as well as returns. And online shoppers at Ice.com, a jewelry merchant, will save 20 percent on many items and pay no shipping.

Even with these deals, remember to comparison shop at sites like Shopzilla.com and Shopping.com before you buy anything.

Also, make sure to scour the fine print for the return policy. Can you return or exchange an item at their store? If you must mail returns, who pays for the shipping? Will you receive a store credit or a refund?

Also be sure to shop on secure Web sites that use encryption technology, which will scramble your personal information so hackers cannot access it. According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a secure Web site will display https:// (Note the "s" in the address bar).

Note that this extra letter often does not appear until you move from browsing to ordering. Also, a closed padlock symbol displayed at the bottom of your screen, or an unbroken key, also indicates that the site is secure.

Never buy from a Web site that doesn't include a physical address and phone number. You want to be able to track down the merchant if your mother's personalized bag never gets to its destination.

Be sure to record every purchase and the respective price. Otherwise you may be blindsided by the dollar figure when your credit card invoice comes next December or January.

Also, and according to the American Management Association, before you spend hours browsing at your desk, remember that nearly 75 percent of companies monitor their employees' Internet usage.

Finally, use a credit card when shopping on the Internet. It is the safest method of payment. Legally you are responsible for only $50 of unauthorized charges, and you can withhold payments if you are disputing any specific charge.

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Source: Cyber Marketing



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