Cyber Monday hacks: How to get the best bargains online

Megan Roney shops online at Europa Coffeehouse in Denver in this 2011 file photo. (AP / The Denver Post / Helen H. Richardson)

Cyber Monday can feel like a sprint, shoppers ready at the starting blocks before discounted tech and apparel drop online.

The bargain shopping day, a digital extension of Black Friday weekend, is an increasingly popular way to score deals.

But with the internet at your fingertips, where does one begin? Marketing and retail expert Brynn Winegard spoke with CTVNews.ca to offer some tips to make the most out of Cyber Monday.

BIG BOX GOES BIGGER

“The king of Cyber Monday has historically been Walmart,” said Winegard. But in recent years, the company has dealt with “the Amazon effect” as more consumers flock to the e-commerce site to buy everything from food to clothes.

“We know Walmart is going to come out swinging,” she said.

To counteract the competition, big box stores such as Walmart could be preparing their biggest deals yet, Winegard suggested.

LOOK FOR SEASONAL, PERISHABLE, HOSPITALITY GOODS

The best deals might be found in products that easily become obsolete, such as outdated versions of the Google Pixel phone or Nintendo Switch, Winegard said.

That’s why some big tech items often have big discounts -- it’s likely that a new and improved version of that smartphone or gaming console will be out within months.

The same goes for seasonal and hospitality products like holiday decor and other hosting items. Perishable food items could see some of the biggest drops, Winegard said, because expiry dates prohibit their sale.

ALLOW 'RE-MARKETING'

During Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday, junk mail could finally be your friend.

Winegard suggests an experiment: pack your digital shopping cart and abandon those items at the last minute, instead of checking out online. You might get an email from the company soon after that offers an additional discount.

“They might sweeten the pot so you’ll come back,” said Wineguard.

But not everyone has the patience for that, particularly if it’s high-demand products that other could snag first.

RECONSIDER 'BOGO'

“Buy-one-get-one-free” offers, or BOGO offers, are also popular during bargain season. There are even less appealing BOGOHO offers, or “buy-one-get-one-half-off.”

These are called bundling programs and they’re usually for staple categories where retailers know they will sell a lot of product.

“The retailer doesn’t need to discount very deeply because they know they have a fairly inelastic demand,” Wineguard said.

SAVE MONDAY FOR GENERAL BUYS

People often wonder if they should wait for Cyber Monday to buy the red sweater they’ve been eyeing, said Wineguard. But she suggests it might be best not to wait.

“Sometimes those discounts disappear,” she said. “On Cyber Monday, retailers discount some things and not others.”

Do your ultra-specific shopping on Black Friday weekend, and save your general gift ideas for Monday.

DON'T SHOP HUNGRY OR THIRSTY

Some recent research has shown that hungry people buy more. Wineguard added that thirsty people also tend to mistake thirst for hunger, which could also lead to over-spending and buyer’s remorse. So bring snacks and a water bottle to your desk while you shop.