20 steps for a successful Cyber Monday

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online-shoppingImage via Tim Reckman

Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, is said to be the Black Friday of e-commerce. According to Mintel £4.7bn is predicted to be spent online in December, with a high proportion of this to be spent on this day, online retail’s biggest day of the year.

At Magazine.co.uk we don’t want you to rack up huge credit card bills, lose sleep over finding the best deal or stress about whether Christmas gifts will arrive in time. Get organised, snap up the best bargains and approach Christmas feeling calm and collected, with our 20 steps to a successful Cyber Monday!


1. Fail to plan, plan to fail

Setting a budget is essential for any shopping trip. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. This avoids any ugly credit card bills in January and will make it easier to decide who makes your gift list this year. Can you really afford to buy a gift for the next door neighbour’s cat?

2. Santa’s List

Now you have a budget, it’s time to plan your gift list. Get yourself a notepad and jot down who you are buying for, what they like and how much you have aside to spend. Whether it’s a magazine subscription or a Kindle, know how much you can afford.  Plan early to avoid ‘panic buying’ later.

3. Back-up planning

What if your chosen gift is sold out, or won’t arrive before Christmas? No one likes an IOU, especially at Christmas, so have a list of alternative gift ideas for your recipients to avoid disappointment.

4. Happy Banker

Decide how you are going to process the payments you make online. If you are using a debit card don’t forget that your statement may not show your live account balance. Credit card at the ready? Check your credit limit and how much interest your purchases may accrue. If you are opting to use PayPal, make sure your account is up to date and correctly linked to relevant bank accounts or cards.

 5. In the money

Consider signing up to a cashback site for your Cyber Monday purchases to benefit from free gifts, 20% cashback and free delivery. You can also apply for a cashback credit card which could give you 5% cashback on every purchase for a limited time.

6. Wait a minute Mr Postman!

Check delivery dates for overseas purchases and double check final UK delivery dates from Royal Mail to avoid any awkward silences on Christmas morning.

7. Deal hunting

Hunt around for the best deals on offer from all the online retailers you intend to shop with. Do a simple search on Twitter or Google to find a whole range of offers including free delivery, bundle promotions, money off and free gifts.

8. Get some z’s

Prepare yourself for a day in front of your computer with a good night’s sleep. Wake up on Cyber Monday feeling full of energy and ready to make great gifting decisions. Sleeping on this kind of job is not acceptable.

9. Book an appointment 

Online shopping can get addictive, and hours can pass by in minutes.  Make an appointment for the afternoon to make sure you don’t get square eyes by 5 o’clock. Too much time shopping online may lead to a severely dented bank balance as well as a headache.

10. Set the mood

Before you embark on a wild goose chase around the web make sure your surroundings are comfortable. Alter the lighting in the room to suit, light a Yankee candle that smells like pinewood and turn up the cheesiest Christmas playlist you can find on Spotify to get you in the spirit.

11. Pull yourself together

You’ll be sitting down for a while with this one. Don’t be tempted to slump in bed with your laptop for your Cyber Monday shopping spree, get yourself positioned upright in a comfortable chair, at a desk or table with a comfy cushion and get shopping.

12. Money munchies

You might as well start as you mean to go on and load yourself up with bowls of festive chocolates and mince pies to keep you fuelled. Don’t forget a bag of Twiglets and a handful of salted peanuts, plus a flask of Christmas tea or special blend coffee. All this spending is bound to leave you hungry and parched, like you need an excuse!

13. Plan the pop-ups

Don’t miss out on grabbing a bargain from auction sites like Ebay. Make sure you allow notifications to pop up when you’ve been outbid or if an auction is coming to a close. You’ll kick yourself if you lose out on that one-off vintage number for Granny.

14. Have patience

 Don’t get your knickers in knots when you land on a busy site that won’t let you in. When the whole world lands on the same page it can slow things down, the best thing to do is come back later. Visit bigger e-commerce sites ‘off-peak’ and if all else fails refer to your backup gift list. You haven’t got all day remember.

15. Would you like a gift receipt?

The answer is yes. Wrong size, unwanted or just ungrateful - don’t waste pennies. If you have the option for a gift receipt on checkout then it is always a yes.

16. Brucey bonus

Don’t be in such a rush to move on to the next pressie that you forget to press that all important ‘confirm’ button on the checkout. Check for extra bundle offers and free gifts when reviewing your basket, as e-commerce sites regularly use gift incentives.

17. Keep track

Make a list of all your purchases and respective tracking numbers for each order, then when each item arrives tick it off. Keep tabs of those you still have left to buy for and carry the list with you. You never know when you might find that extra little gift on your travels. Don’t let your organisation fall at the last hurdle, come on you’re almost there!

18. Delivery dilemmas

You’ve made the order and it’s on its way. But you’ve just realised you have 26 packages arriving on the same day and the cupboard underneath the stairs wouldn’t fit an elf, let alone 26 presents! Try to stagger deliveries if you are short of space. Of course, if the retailer offers free gift wrap and delivery direct to your guest then everyone’s a winner.

19. Prepare Santa’s workshop

Prepare to feel like one of Santa’s elves when all the gifts you have ordered arrive. A wave of panic will hit you. Wrapping. Get prepared by ordering a bundle offer of gift wrap, tags and trims and one of those nifty Sellotape dispensers you can strap to your wrist. You’ll have presents wrapped and packed before you can say Christmas Eve.

20. Pay the price

The least enjoyable part of Cyber Monday. The realisation that you might have spent too much treating your friends and family. Pay off your credit card balance as soon as December’s pay cheque hits your account and start January feeling organised and out of the red. Happy new year!