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Shopping safely and smart on Cyber Monday

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Cyber Monday- the term for the Monday after Thanksgiving in which the holiday shopping season officially begins on the Internet. This year all, it begins on Monday, November 30.

The term "Cyber Monday" is a term invented by Shop.org, part of the U.S. trade association National Retail Federation, as pointed out on Wikipedia. It first became public within the ecommerce community during the 2005 holiday season. According to Scott Silverman, the head of Shop.org, the term was coined based on research showing that 77% of online retailers reported a significant increase in sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2004.

This is where thousands of retailers offer deals for online shopping. Basically, if you didn't find what you wanted or didn't get a good deal on Black Friday, when you returned to work on the Monday morning after turkey day, you could spend your workday shopping online.

Shop.org also urges people to be safe and watch your wallet just as if you were shopping at the mall. "Online shopping, offers many benefits including the ability to shop at anytime of the day or night that is convenient,” said Beth Jordan, AVG Vice President.

“Just as we encourage people to be careful as they’re shopping in a mall or crowded store, Americans should take appropriate steps to protect themselves while shopping online,” said Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org. “Simple steps, like looking for the “secure site” padlock on your browser page when shopping, or making sure you’re buying from a reputable company, can prevent potential headaches down the road.“

Shop.org reminds online shoppers to look for the “S” in the address bar for Security. Additionally, use the Internet to research retailers not familiar to you. There are many sites such as Shopzilla.com, Pricegrabber.com and others that provide ratings of retailers. Think before you click. If it is an unfamiliar site offering items too good to be true, it might be a virus or a scam. Mix up your passwords- don't use the same ones for many online retail sites, and remember to always print the confirmation page or email confirmation page or write down your confirmation code or number. This way you have proof of purchase in case anything goes wrong with the order.

In addition to hundreds of special offers, some of which will be exclusive promotions only available on the site, cybermonday.com will feature a Deal of the Hour on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, highlighting a different retail promotion every 60 minutes.

Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, is the world's leading membership community for digital retail. Founded in 1996, Shop.org's 600 members include the ten largest retailers in the U.S. and more than 60 percent of the Internet Retailer Top 100 E-Retailers. It's where the best retail minds come together to gain the insight, knowledge and intelligence to make smarter, more informed decisions in the evolving world of the Internet and multi-channel retailing. Shop.org programs and activities include benchmarking research, events and networking communities.

“Although employers may cringe at the thought of their workers browsing or buying gifts online at work, there is a potential bright side,” said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch. “Employees who spend ten minutes at the office completing their holiday shopping online are likely to be much more efficient than those who use extended lunch breaks waiting in line at the store and fighting holiday traffic on the way back to work."

That definitely sounds like a better way to shop. I personally cringe at the thought of driving, parking, fighting, battling, queuing and paying all for items I could get online from the comfort of my bed, office or coffee shop. Free shipping, upgrades, gifts with purchase and money-off are all good reasons to shop on Cyber Monday.

CyberMonday.com has already gained momentum this holiday season with visibility on Facebook (facebook.com/shopcybermonday), Twitter (twitter.com/shopcybermonday) and text deal alerts (cybermonday.com/text). Also check out retailmenot.com/cybermonday and bestcybermondaysales.com for great deals too. Also, many items bought on certain website even donate a portion of proceeds to charity or a certain non-profit organization.

Especially in this economy, retailers are hoping for a longer stretch of shoppers and to make more revenue this holiday season with sweeter deals to entice shoppers. Another great aspect to this online phenomenon is that if you don't have to drive, don't have to leave your house and you don’t have to deal with crowds!

So, if you took Monday off, sleep late, then stay in your jammies and shop from your computer. If you have to work- take your lunch break to shop great deals- I don't think you'll be sorry.

Thanks to shop.org for the statistics, More than 20 retailers have shared their Cyber Monday promotions in advance with Shop.org, including press contact information at each company.

Cyber Monday computer image from Geekdrop.com

Homepage photo: http://www.softsailor.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Cyber-Monday.jpg