Ask A Boston Area Expert: Tips For Shopping On Cyber Monday

November 26, 2013 6:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

What’s the appeal of shopping online the Monday after Thanksgiving? It’s easy to pass it off as consumers being more and more comfortable shopping online, but there are two other important factors to consider: the lack of crowds and the great sales. Plenty of shoppers are fed up with early morning wake-ups, long lines and struggling against the crowds at the mall on Black Friday. And plenty of retailers are encouraging them to shop from home with great deals on Cyber Monday.

cc Ask A Boston Area Expert: Tips For Shopping On Cyber Monday

Dana Hanson
Concetta’s Closet
7 Commercial Alley
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 430-8500

With a business built on online sales, Dana Hanson of Concetta’s Closet knows the power of Cyber Monday. Long before she opened her first brick and mortar store, Concetta’s Closet was doing brisk business online. Hanson has these tips for anyone looking to make the most of their Cyber Monday shopping spree.

Plan Ahead
If you want to get the best deals, don’t expect to get on the web and idly window shop all day. “Scope out the items you want in advance,” says Hanson. “Make sure to bookmark them or, as we say on Etsy, ‘heart’ them so that you can find them easily as soon as the Cyber Monday sale starts.” While retailers have gotten better about planning ahead for increased traffic online, even the biggest stores have gotten overwhelmed. If you know there’s a sale online that you just have to get in on, make sure to plan ahead and order early.

Related: Boston’s Best Shopping Malls

Add on the discounts
In some cases, you might be able to maximize the already big Cyber Monday discounts. Plenty of websites like catalogue coupon codes for retailers. A quick Google search for these coupon codes could score you free shipping or other money-saving deals. There are also websites that, on top of getting their members great deals to use online, also offer cash-back shopping perks. is one of these sites. These sites are generally free to sign up and can get great deals and discounts for their members on top of the cash-back bonuses.

Know what to expect
“Make sure you know the shipping charges and ship time, so there are no surprises when you purchase your great deal,” warns Hanson. “Sometimes shipping can be hefty and it may not be worth the purchase. Also, make sure you are okay with the shipping time – sometimes retailers are swamped with Cyber Monday (and Black Friday) orders, so shipping time may be a bit longer.” While plenty of big sites offer things like free shipping, there are plenty of online retailers who will try and make up the great discount they offered you in shipping charges. This goes double for ordering overseas. Be sure you know where your package is coming from, what it will cost and how long it will take so you don’t end up with a headache for the holidays.

cc1 Ask A Boston Area Expert: Tips For Shopping On Cyber Monday

Know the terms
Along with knowing the shipping cost comes all sorts of other fine print you need to keep track of. Hanson, who owns New Hampshire’s only 100-percent vintage clothing boutique, likens it to double checking the measurements and condition of a garment. But even when buying brand new, there’s a lot to consider. “Make sure to read all of the fine print,” says Hanson. “Many times retailers will not accept returns for sale items.” Other things to look out for are how long the return period is, who pays for shipping in the case of returns and does the retailer offer gift receipts that make it easy for your gift recipient to return items that don’t fit or don’t work.

Related: Boston’s Best Stores With a Cause

Sign Up
Most people avoid giving their email addresses to retailers because they’re sick of all the emails. But if there’s a retailer you shop at regularly, you might want to rethink that. Many stores send out newsletters with all kinds of deals reserved for their subscribers. You can also get advance notice of sales and, in some cases, early admittance to online sales.

Renee Mallett is the author of several books about art, culture, and New England. She was the owner and director of an art gallery and has written about arts and entertainment on a national level for several print and online journals. Her work can be found at