The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday gaining popularity for seasonal shopping bargains

BECKLEY — With Black Friday horror stories — fist fights and smartphone stampedes — popping up in the media, no wonder many Americans spend their Friday basking in pumpkin pie bliss and wait until Cyber Monday to start their seasonal shopping.

“Instead of heading to the stores during Black Friday weekend, we think consumers will take advantage of Cyber Monday deals this year,” said Steve Schaffer, CEO of Offers.org. “It’s so easy to find the same or better deals online from the comfort of home or while at work.”

Craig Berman, vice president of Amazon Global Communications, indicated online shopping is “an easy, stress-free holiday shopping experience — nothing beats the convenience of shopping from anywhere at any time, whether it’s on a PC at work, in line for coffee or lounging on the couch with the Kindle Fire HD.”

Experts expect that this year Cyber Monday will see a record-breaking $1.5 billion spent across the United States. This amount is double that spent in 2005 and $25 million more than last year.

The research firm comScore indicated that online spending has increased, not just on Cyber Monday, but across the holiday season.

ComScore reported $10.8 billion was spent online during the first 18 days of November, a 16 percent increase over last year, and they expect the total holiday season to see a 17 percent increase over last year.

“This spending growth also reflects the continuing channel shift to online as consumers increasingly opt for the attractive pricing, convenience and product selection it offers,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

Cyber Monday, a term coined by the digital division of the National Retail Federation (Shop.org) in 2005, began after retailers noticed an increase in online shopping the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Today, a record 85 percent of online retailers are expected to offer special promotions on Cyber Monday, an increase from 78.4 percent last year, reported Shop.org.

Amazon.com, one of the largest online retailers, opens its Cyber Monday Deals Store and offers many items with free shipping or free two-day shipping.

But whether you use CyberMonday.com, Shop.org, Amazon.com, BFads.net, Momsfind.com, or plan to find hot deals through Facebook and Twitter, Offers.com gives you some tips to make the most out of the day.

Offers.com suggests planning ahead so you know what you need before you get online.

You should also make sure you use all coupon codes available for you on the retail website, on Savings.com or the Offers.com Cyber Monday 2012 Savings Center.

Always look for free shipping, something savvy shoppers expect to have on Cyber Monday, and save an average of $10 per transaction. Big name store like Sears, Kmart and Best Buy always offer free shipping on Cyber Monday.

And finally, Office.com said consumers should make sure their purchases are being made on legitimate websites of familiar retailers and always remember to review bank and credit card statements carefully in the days following Cyber Monday to check for fraudulent charges or transactions they don’t recognize.

Remember, the Better Business Bureau is online and consumers can check out an online retailer quickly and easily on www.bbb.org.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

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