Cyber Monday strikes back: Tips for scoring the best deals when shopping online
Published Sunday, November 20, 2016 2:50PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, November 27, 2016 8:29AM EST
With Black Friday over and Cyber Monday on the horizon, shoppers still have a shot at plenty of deals with these helpful tricks to rack up the savings.
Tech expert Marc Saltzman and shopping expert Sandra Hanna of Smart Cookies shared their best tips for saving on the items you're after during ongoing Black Friday and upcoming Cyber Monday sales, whether it's a giant TV, a new pair of stylish shoes or a massive LEGO set.
Save your receipts
Hanna recommends holding onto all your receipts so you can claim a price adjustment, in the event an item goes on sale for a better price a few weeks later. Some retailers have 90-day price guarantees, while others have a shorter 30-day window in which to make a claim. However, even something purchased on Cyber Monday can be price adjusted if you spot a better sale on Boxing Day, as it falls within that 30-day window.
Brick-and-mortar warriors looking to brave the crowds for leftover Black Friday deals will get plenty of use out of Flipp, a Canadian-made app that collects flyers from all the major retailers in a given area. The app stores digital coupons and loyalty cards for redemption in-store, so there's no need to carry around all those plastic cards and clipped-out paper coupons on a shopping trip.
The app is also great to have on hand when you're at a store that allows price matching, as it will allow you to quote the cheaper price at other retailers offering the same product.
"Flipp is a must have for retail shopping," Saltzman told CTV News Channel.
Think of this site as one thing: free money. Ebates.ca offers a small percentage of money back for every online purchase you make at most major retailers, so long as you navigate to those retailers from the Ebates website. The percentages aren't that large (often between 1-8 per cent), but those numbers add up if you're buying a pricey makeup kit from Sephora (with eight per cent back), or a new TV off Amazon (with three per cent back). Ebates makes money off the commission it gets for sending you to the site, and splits some of that commission with you.
The money you earn back can be mailed to you by check, deposited in your PayPal account, turned into an Amazon gift card or donated to charity.
"Not only are you saving money but you're actually making money," Saltzman said.
Hanna recommends finding retailers that price match so you can avoid the competition and still get the best deal. For instance, if everyone is scrambling for a nearly sold-out TV at one retailer, you can take the flyer to another place that price matches and buy the same item from their more ample stock. "Always ask for price matching," Hanna said.
Many retailers that price match will also do so with warehouse clubs such as Costco, meaning you can capitalize on the best deal without buying a membership. Hanna said Best Buy and Toys R Us are among the two largest price-matching retailers. However, be aware of the fine print, as some places refuse to match Black Friday sales.
The Flipp app also comes in handy here, because you can call up a flyer for one store's sale when asking for a price match somewhere else.
The Canada-focused website Retailmenot collects digital coupons for all kinds of online retailers, so you can snag perks such as free shipping or 10 per cent off with a promo code when shopping online.
Honey coupon finder
If you can't be bothered to scroll through all the deals on Retailmenot, add Honey to your desktop browser and let it do the heavy lifting. The browser extension will cycle through promo codes when you reach the checkout screen, trying all the various codes in its database in order to get you the best deal.
Red Flag Deals
A number of websites are devoted to collecting all the major Black Friday and Cyber Monday flyers into one spot, so it's easy to take a sneak peek at what will be on offer this coming weekend.
Saltzman says Red Flag Deals is one of the best for shopping around to find the cheapest price on an item, or for locating a flyer ahead of a sale.
Many online retailers offer special coupon codes on your first purchase, or whenever you sign up for an email newsletter. This can offer an easy couple dollars off the top of your purchase, and all you need to do later is unsubscribe from the email list.
Saltzman says eBay is much more than a digital garage sale of used goods. In fact, the website says 80 per cent of its products are new, making it a great alternative to other retailers when hunting down a hard-to-find product. "They even have a Black Friday and Cyber Monday section," Saltzman points out.
The company says Cyber Monday was its busiest sales day of the year in 2015, followed by Black Friday.
Google improved its search and map apps in time for Black Friday, with new features designed to help you manage the crowds.
Google's Popular Times feature, which shows how busy a given business is throughout the day, is getting a boost with the new ability to gauge the crowd at a business in real time. The information is gathered anonymously from Google users in the vicinity to provide the live report.
Additionally, Google is rolling out a feature that reports how much time users tend to spend at a location, so you can budget your time accordingly.
You can also quickly find a store's business hours on Google Maps or through the search engine, without visiting the retailer's website.
Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
Follow your favourite retailers on Instagram and switch on your notifications to receive alerts when they post. Chances are you'll be among the first to catch wind of online-only sales and other Instagram-only promotions.
Some retailers are also worth following on Twitter or Facebook, especially if they have a history of posting sales or holding giveaways on their social media accounts.
Amazon has taken a different approach to Black Friday this year by offering a week-long stream of deals that rotates each day. Customers with an Amazon Prime account ($79) can take advantage of discounts on most purchases, as well as free two-day shipping.
Download the app for access to Amazon's app-only deals page.
The website Lightning Drops is an excellent companion for your Amazon shopping needs, because it keeps a history of price fluctuations. That way you can identify when a deal is actually a deal. You can even ask the site to track items for you, so you receive an alert when it goes on sale.
Shop Bot is also an extremely valuable tool for comparison shopping. The website collects information from a wide range of Canadian retailers to present the best deals in the country, so you can find the cheapest price on most items.