With all the hassle caused by the global pandemic, many stores have been closed, and it's not so easy to just go to a mall, try on a pair of jeans or two, and see which ones you like best. Fortunately, we live in the Internet era, so we don't have to say goodbye to shopping - it just moved online, and, as CNN suggests, it's for good. With how much safer (according to CDC) it is disease-wise, maybe it seems like a change for the better.
If you haven't tried it out yet, the approaching Cyber Monday (the Internet equivalent of Black Friday) is the best time to try some Windows shopping. Or Mac shopping, if you prefer. The 2019 Cyber Monday sales hit a record $9.4 billion in the USA alone, boosted by a late-night spending spree, Adobe Analytics says. For comparison, Black Friday got only $7.4 billion in sales.
To discourage customers from visiting shops personally, NBC News suggests that there might be unusually many offers to choose from this year. Luckily, we don't have to race against other buyers down aisle 7. Therefore, even more reason to stop for a second and think about the Cyber Monday deals on display. 20% off? 2 for 1? 3 for 2? But do we really need three electric kettles? Is the discount worth it?
Hm, if only we had a calculator to tell us all that...
What and when is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday is a marketing event that encourages people to shop online. It happens on the Monday right after Thanksgiving. Similarly to Black Friday, it offers a selection of discounts and special deals that quite often last only for the day.
Good to Know points out that the two "holidays" are quite different, though. The most important distinction is that Cyber Monday happens online, i.e., shops discount their products when you order them on the website. Clearly, this has the huge advantage of not having to rush through a crowd of other customers and waiting in line at the register. And with the coronavirus pandemic raging on, it is surely the safer way.
Moreover, as the name suggests, Cyber Monday tends to focus on tech-related products like PCs or household appliances. Of course, you can still find discounts on, e.g., clothes, but stores realize that people like to try those on before purchase, which is rather tricky to do online. After all, it's best to know if the dress fits you before you decide to buy it. For best preparation, check for comparison of deals available on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, such as that prepared by BlackFriday.com.
Another big difference between the two days is that Cyber Monday allows us a moment to reflect on whether we really want to order the product. After all, there's no one ripping the items from our hands, so we have enough time in front of the screen and in between sips of coffee to analyze the deal. The Cyber Monday calculator is a tool to do just that.
Cyber Monday available deals
This season, more people than usual are expected to do their holiday shopping online. When we scroll through Cyber Monday deals, we can see loads of different offers that attract our attention even more than the product itself. In fact, CNN suggests that stores plan to start the discounts earlier and finish them later. 70% off the second purchase? Sounds like a bargain! A 20% discount if you buy five copies? Well, consider it done!
In the rush, we rarely think about the prices. Instead, we focus on the percentages that the website promises. In other words, we let emotions take control and choose to forget about the math. This Cyber Monday calculator will help you out with the scientific part so that you can focus on browsing items while still making good economical decisions.
Let's analyze the most common Cyber Monday deals. (Below, we list them in the same order that appears in the calculator.)
- % off (also called simply discount)
Subtract a percentage of the original price.
Deal example: -35% off a laptop, so 💻*65%.
- % off on second product
Sometimes given by "Buy one, get second X% off".
Deal example: Buy a mobile phone, get 40% off the second,
so 📱 + 📱*60%.
- % off on third product
Similar to the previous option, but two products come at their standard price whereas only the third (the cheapest one) is at a discount.
Deal example: Buy two watches, get 70% off the third one,
so ⌚⌚ + ⌚*30%.
- 2 for 1
Hopefully, this one's self-explanatory. If the prices differ, the cheaper item comes for free.
Deal example: Buy one TV set, get a second for free,
so 📺 + 📺*0%.
- 3 for 2
Another type of BOGOF (buy one, get one free) offer: similar to the 2 for 1 deal, but not so rewarding: two items come at full price, the third is free.
Deal example: Buy two pairs of headphones, get one free,
so 🎧🎧 + 🎧*0%.
- 4 for 3
Similar to the previous two deals, but usually the least profitable. The maximum discount you can get is only 25%, and that's the case when all the items are the same price.
Deal example: Buy four CDs for the price of three,
so 💿💿💿 + 💿*0%.
- Double discount
Sometimes you can find offers such as "50% + 30%". It doesn't mean that somebody doesn't know how to add 50 to 30: it says that the original discount was 50% off, then 30% was taken from the new price. So in total, for this example, the effective discount is 65%, not 80%.
Deal example: Double discount on a radio: 20% + 25%, effective discount is 40%, so 📻*60%.
- Triple discount
Similar to the previous deal, but the discounting happened three times.
Deal example: Camera triple discount: 10% + 10% + 20%, effective discount is 35.2%,
- Discount on multiple units
Sometimes, you can find deals such as buy N of the same item for $X.
Deal example: buying a 5 pack of batteries for $11, while the price per one is $2.39 will save you $0.95.
so 🔋🔋🔋🔋🔋 for $11 instead of 5🔋*$2.39 = $11.95.
Once you choose the type of deal you're dealing with (*wink wink*), our tool will calculate how much you'll save on it. Also, based on the ratio between the original and the new price, it even mentions how good of a discount it is.
Remember that while Cyber Monday is definitely safer social distancing-wise (and being stomped in the mall entry-wise, for that matter), online shopping has one thing that we're too eager to forget: shipping costs.
With so many discounts on the horizon, shipping may also be free for Cyber Monday deals. However, if it's not, make sure to remember about it while on a shopping spree. The calculator includes a window where you can input the shipping costs for your order.
Tips to shop safe and smart
With so many aspects to Cyber Monday, it may seem challenging to get your head around all the online shops and deals. That's why we've prepared a shortlist of tips that could help you prepare for the day. For more information, be sure to check those drawn up by USA Today and those by Dough Roller.
Make sure you're safe.
The Internet is a wild place with more than rainbows and unicorns around the corner. Make sure that your connection is secure and that the website you're visiting is trustworthy. The increased online activity may attract and encourage scammers or hackers.
Make a list of what you need.
While it's always fun to look through all the offers and see what attracts the eye, it's safer for your wallet to think beforehand what you're looking for and stick to it. Unless you're Jeff Bezos. You don't have to care much then, do you, Jeff?
Check how much the product cost before.
The deal may sound like a bargain, but it might just be the same (or even higher) price than, say, two weeks earlier. Shops know that you're eager to buy something that day and can take advantage of that.
Compare the prices between different websites.
If you find a product that you're determined to buy, spend an additional five minutes on seeing whether you can have it even cheaper on some other website. Who knows?
Check out the shipping costs and return policy.
The product may be cheap alright, but if the shipping is super expensive, then is it really such a good deal? And what if the item comes broken? Is it possible to return it and get a refund? Make sure to answer these questions before it's too late.
If you keep in mind the tips above and find a deal to die for, it's just a matter of paying and waiting for it to arrive.
It should be here soon.
Any minute now...