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Ask A Chicago Expert: Tips For Shopping On Cyber Monday

Ready for Cyber Monday? With the holidays upon us, consumers everywhere are gearing up for deep discounts on their purchases the week after Thanksgiving. Here are some great tips to make your online shopping more productive from advertising executive and Chicago expert Megan Holbrook.

Fifth Annual "Wrap To Rap" Holiday Gift Wrapping Benefit
(Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Megan Holbrook
Advertising Sales Manager
Make It Better Media
586 Lincoln Ave.
Winnetka, IL 60093
(847) 256-4642

As a valued staff member at Make It Better Media, Megan's primary responsibility entails selling products in the company's portfolio of media channels to new clients while growing the ad expenditures of existing and executive-level clients. Megan demonstrates a consultative, solution-based approach to ad sales and helps plan, develop and execute sales strategies. Previous to joining Make It Better as Sales Advertising Manager in 2009, she was an advertising executive at Pioneer Press/Sun-Times Media Group for upwards of 20 years. In describing MIB's public relations image, Megan comments, "we've become a trusted and easy-to-use community resource in print, online and in person at events. We offer multiple media touch-points in addition to the website and magazine, including bi-weekly e-newsletters, an iPAD app and social media." She adds, "we find that women today are extremely busy and multi-tasking, hence holiday online shopping, particularly this year, should hit an all time high. In fact, demographic audits indicate that women on Chicago's North Shore are responsible for 85 percent of the household purchasing."

Tip 1

Shoppers should have a good idea of what they are looking for and the price range they have in mind. It's important that the timing of an online buying spree is right, as a lot of the items you might be interested in may already be sold out. It's easy to get sidetracked and to spend too much time on unanticipated impulse buys. Cyber shoppers may want to stay up later when hoping to find that super-discount on an item, as a lot of the great sales start at midnight and sell out quickly.

Tip 2

Make sure that your computer is up-to-date with any upgrades to your operating system and applications installed. Staying up to speed on technology will reduce any risk of a computer meltdown just as you are about to push the checkout button. High-speed internet access will expedite your product search and is a more effective way to surf the web. Be sure that the site you are shopping on is using the https website address, as the 's' indicates an added layer of security for your online purchases.

Tip 3

While it can be fun and certainly convenient to shop from home, the importance of protecting your online transactions cannot be overemphasized. As such, consumers may want to consider using a separate credit card for their online purchases. Exercising caution in this way can make it easier to track a sale if there is a problem with billing or delivery. Additionally, it's worth noting that sites that ask for the three-digit code on the back of the card are designed to provide an additional measure of security.

Related: Best Places for Black Friday Shopping Deals in Chicago

Tip 4

Stay up on your social media on Cyber Monday. According to IBM, 77 percent of social referral traffic came from Facebook; Pinterest could also see big gains this year (it had a 105 percent increase from 2011 to 2012). The same report shows that online sales peaked at 11:30 a.m. and again at 9 p.m., so those are times you might want to avoid due to heavy online traffic.

Tip 5

Shop early! Do your research and scout out the deals ahead of time. is an excellent site to browse in advance, as are other popular websites that advertise online shopping. It's a good idea to search for and locate information on special offers by major online retailers. Added savings through coupons, promotions and free shipping can also make a big difference.

Related: Best Tips to Avoid Holiday Spending Mistakes

Magdalene Paniotte is from Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and has studied creative writing at the graduate level. Maggie enjoys composing articles and developing her voice as a freelance writer. Her work can also be found at

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