Getting online — not just in line — to find the best deals.

This holiday shopping season, brick-and-mortar stores are out to match e-commerce sites with the latest and deepest discounts, and even encourage in-store shoppers to buy online. About 85% of online retailers will offer special promotions on Monday when people return to work. And now there’s an entire web site to check out all the deals called cybermonday.com.







For the first time in fact, more of us will go online than will go to stores to do get our gifts — 52% of shoppers are expected to use the Web, tablets or smartphones to buy presents. A mobile device may be more important to bring Christmas shopping than your wallet.

Mobile shopping

Sales made on a mobile device will be 21% of all online holiday sales this year, according to the Adobe Digital Index 2012 Online Shopping ForecastTwo-thirds of those sales will be made on tablets, and the other third on smartphones. Phones more than tablets are used to research prices and find store locations and sales, and tablets to make a purchase.

And as retailers encourage shoppers to use multiple channels, more mobile sales are being made at the actual store. Walk into Best Buy with a smartphone, scan a QR code, and it takes you to the Best Buy web site. If you see it cheaper online, they’ll match that price in store. Or …buy something online and pick it up at a store near you — that same day. This saves you shipping costs and gets you that holiday rush of being with the crowds.

Price checking on the go

For the first time this year, Best Buy said if you find it cheaper anywhere online, they’ll match the price in store. Amazon’s app Price Check makes that really easy. I love talking into my phone, and instantly, the product comes up on Amazon and other sites. You can also use it by scanning the QR code or snapping a picture of what you want.







Shopping goes social

Retailers are also using social to get you to their web sites. Nearly three-quarters said they’re promoting sales on their Facebook pages, while more than 40% are promoting on Twitter. A survey by ConsumerSearch.com found that 62% of shoppers use social for user reviews and online wish lists, and Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to get inspiration for holiday gift ideas. Some retailers are using text messages and push notifications to offer discounts to loyal customers, and many stores have a rewards program when once you sign up, you’ll get email alerts to discounts and special sales.

Here’s how some retailers are using social:  

Radio Shack is offering discounts to Foursquare users who “check in” at their retail stores.
Sports Authority gave away $500 gift cards to users on Black Friday who checked in on Foursquare and then posted the check-in to their Twitter account.
Sears has nearly 20 separate Facebook pages, while Best Buy has six (including individual pages for music, gaming and mobile devices).
Amazon will give away one Kindle every day until November 30th to people who “Like” the company’s Facebook page.
Staples has started giving people sneak peeks at its Cyber Monday deals on Facebook.

Online shopping tips:

  • Shop at sites that offer free shipping — many stores will offer it on Cyber Monday.
  • Only buy from trusted retailers with good ratings and reviews.
  • Never buy from an online retailer with a no return policy or who charges a restocking fee.
  • Check out currentcodes.comretailmenot.com to find coupon codes. A great one to try is retailmenot.com. Just click on the link, and it’ll display all the coupons for the site you’re on.
  • Access a store’s web site through a rewards site like UpromiseMyPointsFatWallet and Ebates to earn points or cash.
  • Compare Prices on sites like pricegrabber.com.

Retail brands love the use of mobile devices and social media as it helps them forge closer ties with customers, and brand loyalty. For the shopper, the added discounts and convenience means you may get more work done on Monday than you thought.