Celebrating Cyber Monday

Today is Cyber MondayAmerican Thanksgiving has given birth to a most unusual tradition. No, I’m not talking about watching the Macy’s parade or nodding off on the couch to a football game. It’s tuning in to the news the next day to catch images of crazed shoppers who’ve spent hours lined up in the cold, trampling over each other to get their hands on steeply discounted products.

Thankfully, around 2005, a new – much more civilized – shopping tradition emerged: Cyber Monday.

What is Cyber Monday?

Online shopping originated in the early 1990s with the launch of such famous – and still popular sites – as Amazon.com and eBay. But it took people a while to get used to the concept of buying things based on an on-screen image and paying for them via mysterious means like PayPal. In fact, it took about a decade for people to grow comfortable with online shopping – but it took off like wild fire once it caught on.

It wasn’t long before retailers realized the opportunity for an online component to the holiday shopping frenzy – and promptly created an event to piggy-back on the hype surrounding post-Thanksgiving spending. And so Cyber Monday was born, taking place on the Monday immediately after Black Friday (Monday, November 26, 2012).

Canadians Are Taking Part

And it’s not just limited to U.S. online shoppers. Canadians have fully embraced online shopping, with more than half of us (56 per cent), planning to shop online this holiday season, according to a recent survey by American Express Canada. Here’s why: “Time is always precious, but at the holidays it’s at even more of a premium,” says Colin Temple, Vice President and General Manager of Merchant Services at American Express Canada. “Between holiday entertaining and events, visiting with family and friends, and winter travel, there never seems to be enough time to do everything you’d like.” He adds that the allure is also due to the ease of finding merchandise. “What we’re seeing is that Canadians are embracing online shopping, not only because of the time it saves them from standing in line, but because it’s easy to browse gift options and then have purchases delivered right to where they need to go.”

Visit the Online Shopping Mall

So, where do you need to go to find Cyber Monday deals? The short answer: anywhere you can find online Black Friday deals, you’ll find the Cyber Monday equivalent.
When looking for specific stores, the first place to start is the home of the sale – the U.S. of A. Many big-name U.S. retailers will ship their deals across the border, including J.Crew, Nordstrom, and the Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic triumvirate. Closer to home, many Canadian retailers like Chapters, the Bay, and SoftMoc have also offered Cyber Monday deals in years past. FutureShop.ca will offer a sneak peak of some of their Cyber Monday deals between 8 and 9 p.m. (EST) on Sunday night, November 25. Take note of the case-sensitive promo code: FSCyberMonday. And at least one of the early adopters has taken it a step further, echoing Boxing Week sales. Amazon.ca, has a week-long Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale ongoing.

Credit? Check.

Want to enhance your online shopping experience? Make your purchases using an MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard and earn cash back on every dollar you spend. The no-fee card offers five per cent cash back on gas and grocery purchases for the first six months (two per cent after that), and one per cent on all other purchases. Plus, if you apply by December 15th, you can get a $100 gift card for Toys R Us, Future Shop, Amazon.ca, or Boston Pizza.

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