We can hear it now—but Designer Studio Store, it’s OCTOBER! Why are you talking about the holidays NOW? Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the rest of the winter holidays seem to come faster and faster every year. Now, with the economy showing signs of rebound, this is likely to be one of the craziest holiday seasons in the last five years. The question is, come Cyber Monday, are you going to be prepared to get all of the amazing online deals you want? Or, are you going to be caught in a swirl of red tape? You can get some great deals on Cyber Monday, but if you don’t keep a sharp eye out on sales tax, order quantities, shipping policies, return policies, and shipping charges, your Cyber Monday might not be so merry.
Here are the top four things you need to remember when you are shopping online (not just during the season, but any time you shop online.)
#1: Dollars and Cents—A lot goes into shopping online. You can go into the store and walk out knowing exactly what your state tax rate is and the price on the tag. Online shopping is a different animal, especially on Cyber Monday. Pay attention to whether or not you need to pay sales tax. In some states, that could cost you up to 10% that you weren’t planning to spend. Also, pay attention to sale prices and promo codes. If you have a promo code, be sure to enter it correctly and make sure it is properly applied in your shopping cart.
#2: What and How Many— Especially on Cyber Monday, there are limits to the number of a certain item you can buy. Be sure to check order quantities and make sure that the order quantity you want is properly reflected in your shopping cart. If there is a limit, check to see if that limit is per order or per household. If you are ordering clothes, make sure you are choosing the right size.
#3: The Terms of the Deal— The deals are amazing on Cyber Monday, but sometimes you have to spend a certain amount to get the discount or buy items of a certain type. Make sure you are clear on the terms of the deal so you aren’t surprised when it’s time to check out. Also, if you are ordering a gift for someone who likes to return things, be sure to check return policies. It will save you a lot of stress later.
#4: Getting It There—Shipping is one of the biggest costs and time-swallowers in online shopping. Make sure when you shop online that you are clear on shipping costs and (most importantly) you know how long it will take to get your item to you. If you are ordering last minute, make sure your item will arrive before it’s time to open presents. If not, it might not be such a happy holiday.