Online shopping – is it worth it?

By Ciara Conley - [email protected]

If you opted out of the long lines and crowds of people on Black Friday this year, you’re not alone. But there are still opportunities to snag deals on gifts this year. With online shopping on the rise, more shoppers are gravitating toward Cyber Monday than ever before.

Cyber Monday is a marketing term, coined in 2005 designed to push shoppers toward online retailers on the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday.

According to a recent DealNews survey, 83 percent of consumers said they’ll be shopping on Cyber Monday, an increase from 77 percent in 2015. Comparatively, only 44 percent of people said they’d be shopping on Black Friday.

The advantages of Cyber Monday seem rather obvious in comparison to Black Friday, it’s quicker and easier, there aren’t any long lines and no shoving your way through to find the item you’re after. If you were busy with family or travel on Thanksgiving Friday and missed the in-store sales, Cyber Monday provides another opportunity to take advantage of sales. Prices can easily be compared online so you can find the best deals and you can shop comfortably at home in your pajamas if you wish.

“It’s all the deals without the hassles. No standing out in the cold or getting up early. You don’t run the risk of getting to your deal only to find that it’s sold out,” said Tim Conley, an avid Cyber Monday supporter. “You don’t have to stand in line to check out for longer than you stood outside, realizing you could’ve got the same deals online.”

Cyber Monday can also assist local charities, some websites allow visitors to donate a portion of their proceeds to a charity of choice. For example, by visiting, you can select a charity of choice, like the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund, Sierra’s Haven or the Autism Project of Southern Ohio and a portion of the proceeds will be donated.

But Cyber Monday has its cons as well, you can’t see what you’re buying. Sizing charts can be deceptive, the true color and quality of a garment can’t be determined and you can’t try it on. Not everything that’s on sale on Black Friday will be available on Cyber Monday, and it may detract from local business sales.

Many small businesses do not have websites, particularly antique stores and those that sell hand-crafted items where inventory may be limited.

“I personally don’t shop Cyber Monday and I won’t. My wife and I always have this argument about Amazon being the same as shopping Walmart and I don’t see it that way,” said Main Street Portsmouth’s (MSP) Executive Director, Joseph Pratt. “Our local Walmart is involved in the community and employs hundreds of my neighbors. While my mission at MSP is to engage people in downtown, I don’t see problems with shopping at local chain stores as well. However, I do with online retailers.”

According to Market Watch, here are some tips to help with your online shopping:

1. Plan Your Shopping Early — Putting together a shopping list prior to site surfing allows you to research typical prices online so you can differentiate a truly good deal from advertising hype. A shopping list will also keep you focused and less likely to be drawn off-track by good deals on things that you do not really need.

2. Search for Promotions — Check coupon and promotional cites like retailmenot, to find codes for extra savings, sites typically have an ‘offers and promotions,’ tab as well. These sites collect ads from multiple vendors and act as a clearinghouse for deals. You can find similar sites that allow for comparison-shopping or setting alerts with various retailers when the price of an item is at or below your desired target. You can also check out the stores social media accounts to find special offers and coupons.

3. Go Mobile – Try out some of the mobile apps for Cyber Monday before the day arrives. You may be able to do a quick comparison while you are at a physical store checking out the merchandise in question.

4. Check Timing – Cyber Monday deals may be for a limited time window or have a limited supply. Last year, the steepest discounts were earned by early morning shoppers. Make sure you understand the rules of the site and when offers are valid before you embark on your shopping.

5. Check Your Internet Speed – Is your Internet reliability questionable on a high-volume day like Cyber Monday? Do not lose out on a bargain because the Internet speed (or lack thereof) prevented you from placing an order.

6. Beware of Hidden Costs – Make sure that extravagant shipping costs, unusual taxes, or other hidden fees don’t turn your bargain into a bust.

By Ciara Conley

[email protected]

Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley – Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.

Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.