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Did you survive Black Friday? Those in the know will understand that the best bargains may still be yet to come and there’s no need for dawn queues or shop floor fisticuffs. The best deals arrive today. Are you ready for Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday is all about online deals, so how can you best take advantage of the offers and bargains available in the coming days to grab yourself an early Christmas present? Using online wisely that’s how and here’s why, but first a little bit of history:

Black Friday began as a concept in the USA, falling the day after the American holiday of Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November). With many families off, and so close to the next holiday of Christmas, the day naturally became one when retailers in the US experienced a surge in shoppers and sales. The term Black Friday said to come from the fact that for many retailers it was the first day of the year they would begin trading at a profit – or in the black – with Christmas sales so very important.

As a result, many brands in the USA promote temporary deals and offers to entice shoppers to spend. The last couple of years have seen global brands trying to bring the concept to the UK and the news coverage this year certainly suggests they have made an impact, but the real value, in the USA and in recent years in the UK always come on the proceeding Monday.  – Amazon UK reported that Black Friday this year was the busiest day for sales on record but still expects Cyber Monday to beat that after 2013 sales were 3 per cent higher on Cyber Monday than Black Friday.

Since 2009, Cyber Monday has consistently been one of the biggest online retail days in the UK. Why? Well in the US, it follows Black Friday and the frenzy over that in the UK this year is likely to boost sales even more but it is also the first Monday following the last payday for many before Christmas. Even more importantly, this year it also falls on December 1st. With advent calendars in full swing and Christmas spirit beginning to flow, retailers expect online shoppers to hit new highs with their buying this year on Cyber Monday – and will be tempting them with another tranche of eye-watering deals. Experian Marketing Services-IMRG estimate £649.6m will be spent on Cyber Monday, peaking around £451,000 a minute and online retail visitors hitting 145m over the course of the day.

Many brands are already carrying over Black Friday weekend offers into Cyber Monday but many more are also launching specific Cyber Monday deals, so there will be bargains, but how can you best find them and take advantage of them?

Set-up a deal specific email

Don’t risk missing a notification of the best deals. Sign-up to retailer deal emails newsletters and use a separate email box for them that you keep checking on a regular basis. You can set-up a personalised email address by following the instructions in this blog article to be sure you will be ready to pounce when new deals go live.

Track social media hashtags

#Cybermonday will probably be trending on Twitter by the time you use this but don’t forget Facebook also utilises hashtags just type #cyberMonday into the search box to find who is talking about various offers. You can also use Twitter the same way to track either brands promoting their deals or consumers sharing the deals they just secured.

Use online shopping search engines

Google even has a Shopping tab to help you find the best price for things you search for, but sites like Kelkoo and PriceRunner have been doing the same for years, helping you compare retailers for prices as well as customer reviews too. If you know what you want, it’s a great way of highlighting the best price and the best place to buy from. Whether they can keep up with the multitude of ever-changing Cyber Monday deals remains to be seen.

Keep an eye on bargain forums

The whole of the site will be heavily under siege today as people look to share the best bargains around. The Grabbit sub forum is probably the liveliest and most up to date, so check in and see what other people are buying and sharing links about. Similar recommended bargains can be found on the HotUKDeals site, who even have a dedicated CyberMonday stream today too.

Shop from home multiscreen

With none of the scrums that came with Black Friday, Cyber Monday is a great way for you to be in control of your bargain hunting so that includes how you prepare your research tools. It pays to maybe look and research using mobile device. If there is a dedicated mobile site, pages are likely to load much quicker and it is also probably easier to check your dedicated email on your tablet of phone then click straight through to the site. However, when buying and paying, too often ecommerce sites are frustratingly poor, so it may be better to leave the closing of the deal down to your desktop or laptop and the full site, just to eliminate any additional stress.

Use cashback loyalty providers

OK so you may have just saved 10% off the price of that jumper you have always wanted, but what would make it an even better bargain is knowing another 2% cashback is on its way to you too. Check your credit card and see if they offer cashback for certain stores – a number have tied up partnerships this Christmas for just that. If not, sign-up to sites like Quidco, TopCashback and GiveorTake who effectively pay you commission if you make those purchases via their site that leaves a tracking cookie. It can take a few months for the payout but effectively free money is worth the wait.

CyberMonday may be a great way to get a bargain but remember it is only a bargain if you are saving money you were already going to spend. If you are buying additional things, the savings disappear. Do research and think before you push that final order button and do have some fun, it shouldn’t be a stressful thing to do.

Good luck with your bargain hunting and let us know your successes using #123regcybermonday.

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