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Online shopping

Cybersecurity is an essential tool in the fight against all kinds of online criminal activity. While a lot of us take it for granted that the sites we visit, share, and shop from, are all safe and have been thoroughly vetted by the appropriate authorities, you really never can be too careful. Cybersecurity is one of the primary, everyday things that we need to attend to to be sure that we keep our funds and our data out of the hands of people who might want to misappropriate them. Safety when shopping online, or even just browsing, is paramount. Here are a few tips from us to you to stay on the right side of cyber security.

Image source: Pexels


Whether it’s for your business or for you personally at home, the benefits of a VPN are endless. What the term means is Virtual Private Network, and what the program does is that it masks your online activity, whatever it may be, from third parties who might be lurking around. A VPN’s function is essential to shield your actual data and connection from anyone and anything by funneling it through a secure connection. This is especially helpful if you browse from public connections. Perhaps you work from a local coffee shop; this can be dangerous in terms of what’s available to prying eyes if you aren’t protected. Hackers target places with public connections to nab data; don’t make it easier for them.

The only downside to having a VPN is that it will inevitably slow your internet speed a little. All of your data is being bounced from one side of the world to the other, so this little drop in speed should hardly come as a surprise, as inconvenient as it can be.

Antivirus software

It feels like this should go without saying, but we’re saying it anyway. Having a reliable antivirus installed is non-negotiable if you use the internet on any of your devices. If you’re unfamiliar with what antivirus software does, we’ll break it down for you. It acts as a soldier or security guard against malware (any software made with malicious intent), spyware (software designed to remain hidden and capture your data), viruses in general (harmful programs that replicate on your computer) and anything dangerous that might find its way into your computer.

Some antivirus software works to combat all of these forms of the program; others may only take on one at a time, so be sure you understand what you’re purchasing. Remember that programs like this need regular updates to stay current and functioning at a high level.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Complex passwords

We know it’s challenging to remember a hundred complicated passwords, but keeping your passwords long and complex is a crucial aspect of keeping your sensitive data safe. The more unique and complex your password, the more difficult it is for any hacker to figure out what it is. If there are security questions that need to be set, consider using a translation tool to translate them into a different language. The more unpredictable they are, the better. Adding a space before or after other characters is another excellent option to add uniqueness.

If you struggle to keep track of all your passwords, you can make use of an app like LastPass or Samsung Pass (depending on what device you are using) to keep all your information safe but still readily accessible. You could also consider using a password-protected spreadsheet.

Firewall protection

You might be asking, what is the difference between an antivirus and a firewall? Well, we’ll tell you. A firewall protects your hardware and your software, making it essential if you or your business have physical servers. It also blocks viruses or deters them from even entering your network, rather than dealing with them after the fact.  Firewall and antivirus make a very successful team. A firewall will keep your network traffic, inbound, and outbound, safe and secure. It may block certain unsavory websites which might be used by hackers to target unsuspecting visitors. It can also be programmed to stop people in a business from sending out certain kinds of data.

Encryption software

If you run a business, this is particularly important. If your business handles any kind of online transaction with credit cards, identity numbers, or bank transfers, you’ll need an encryption program to keep that data safe. It alters the information being sent and received into unreadable codes. It’s a program that is designed to anticipate the worst-case scenario; should your data get stolen, the hacker who has it will not be able to read it without the correct keys to do so.

Photo by Saksham Choudhary from Pexels

Ignore emails from unknown senders

This is just good common sense when it comes to emails and calls. Any email coming from an unknown sender or from an email address that looks even the least bit suspicious is one that you should delete without opening it. Unscrupulous individuals and hackers will try to get to you through a seemingly innocuous email. They may tell you you’ve won something in a contest that you never even knew you had entered, or that they are a long-lost relative with an inheritance that needs to be passed on to you. Though it would be nice to think that these things happen, it is a fair bet that they aren’t really real. Ignore, delete and block the sender.

Back up often

This is a good idea for many reasons, not only to safeguard your data from cybercriminals. If you back up your data on the cloud or on physical hard drives regularly, you can be sure that you’ll always have access to it, even in the worst of times. This takes away the leverage that hackers might have to ransom your data back to you, but also puts your mind at rest that you’ll never lose important data because it is stored in more than one place.

Wrap up

There are many basic cyber security tools that you can make use of to safeguard your data; we suggest you start today.


Many people dream of becoming an entrepreneur – having their own shop to sell clothes, shoes, bags and other stuff. It is a good business which can be a stable source of income. However, not many can afford the big capital required to start a store. Budget is indeed a big factor but what if we tell you that there’s a way to fulfill this dream without having to spend too much money to start with? The answer to this is the internet. You can start your shopping business online without needing big money as capital. We will share some tips on how to start a shopping business online.

  1. Come up with a winning business plan – of course you need a plan before you start your business. What are you planning to sell on your website? Do you want to sell shoes, bags, clothes and apparels or do you plan to offer other goods like baked goods or probably handmade jewelries other products? It is important to know what you will offer.
  2. Choose a remarkable domain name – your website is going to be your virtual shop thus you need to come up with a name that can be remembered by users immediately. It is best if they can easily name your site when someone asks them where they purchased what they purchased on your site.
  3. Choose reliable hosting site – It is important that your site is always up and running especially during peak hours wherein many people are browsing and potentially shopping. You should make sure to choose a web hosting site that has good reputation of having zero to low down time and with easy to contact support team.
  4. Have an SSL certificate – SSL certificate allows safe connection between your site and users’ browser. This gives confidence to users that their details are safe on your website.
  5. Design a layout that is easy to navigation – you should ensure that visitors can easily navigate your site. For example, you should immediately show them options where they should go or what they should click from homepage to go to this page or that page. Online users do not want complicated websites.
  6. Provide various payment options – it is also good practice to provide various payment options like Visa, MasterCard, direct bank transfer or 3rd party payment options like PayPal, Neteller, Skrill and others. This makes things a lot easier for customers.
  7. Publish a thorough and easy to follow step-by-step guidelines – another thing to remember is to come up with an easy step by step guide for new users on your site. You should have a guide that they can use so they know how to register, place order, pay and so on and so forth.
  8. Provide a customer hotline or support email or chat – lastly, you should provide a support contact details that users can contact in case they have questions or enquiries.

These tips will help you start your very own online shopping site and eventually fulfill your dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur. Just like in running a land-based business, you should work hard and be patient. Sometimes it can take a while before the business grows and starts earning so don’t lose focus.


Shopping is never-ending. You buy something, and yet you wait to buy more. But the best part of shopping is when you get to buy things at lower prices and tend to save some right amount.

Online shopping has become a significant venue for more customers inclined towards it than retail shopping. With more shopping portals covering every need, it’s like you don’t even need to step out.

What all can you buy online?

 Practically,everything! Yes, online shopping now offers everything at affordable rates. From apparel to accessories, daily food items to ordering food online, electronics to gadgets; you name it, and you get it.

But one thing that has grabbed my attention while shopping online are some sleep products. You can get these products at really affordable rates. The idea that attracted me more towards these sleep products wasn’t their price, but the ease in selecting the best fit product.

Wherever you go to the market to buy mattresses or other sleep products, finding the best product from so many varieties and brands is the real challenge.

While buying online, you get to view each such variety with its detailed description. This allows making a better-informed choice with ease. Such comfort is not available in the retail market.

Image source Flickr

Guide to buy things at less price

So, now the real thing. How to buy efficiently using the online portal and save money.  Well, here I will provide you tips and tricks that you can use to shop online and at best price.

  1. Compare and buy: now this is critical to understand. Just like you shop to shop, from market to market to inquire about price and then buy, likewise, it is imperative to compare the prices of a product on every portal for the best price. Now you will think how it’s different then. Well, buying online means you don’t have to go out from shop to shop physically, it saves you time, effort and money and helps you obtain at less price.


  1. Use coupons: there are shopping portals that give you coupons to buy products from their website. While there are sites that provide exclusive coupons that you can redeem for getting things at less price or get a particular benefit.


  1. Wait for deals and offers: every site has sometime in the month when it gives products on sale. Such sale gives from 20%-80% discounted products. You can take advantage of such deals to buy things at low prices.


  1. Varieties and brands: the primary benefit of buying online is you get hundreds of names and thousands of types of product to compare and sort the best one for you.


  1. Referrals: most of the sites now provide you cash points as the reward for referring to friends or family. You can refer and earn such points to redeem them for a cash discount on your purchases. There are points that you receive when your referral also makes purchases from that website.


  1. End of season sale: The season’s sale time is the best time to buy products you want at very less price. Like season end for winters or summers. You can also avail festive offers on thousands of products as well.

Well, I suppose emergence of e-commerce has opened new ventures for smooth and effortless shopping. You tend to save money all along the way. Like you don’t have to go out, and products are shipped to your location, so it saves your transportation cost, along with other product discounts.

One thing that e-commerce has given to every customer is access to products from different countries without the limitations of geographical boundaries. Access to international market and international products without having to go anywhere is something that has attracted buyers and sellers alike.

Buying for less is not a game or easy thing. You need to be aware of your surroundings and what is being offered to you. In such a case the portals become a natural source of such information. You get latest trends, fashion, and most recent technology, all in one place. And want all you need to get these, well a good internet connection and download shopping apps. Simple, hassle-free and effortless!

Children born into the current times are growing up with technology thrust at them from every angle. Gone are the days you needed to have wires plugged into the computer to connect to the internet. Gone are the days you could only make a phone call with a house phone. Companies are going digital more than ever before and we are becoming comfortable with the advancements in our home technology. The thing is, it’s important to remember that these advancements do not appear out of thin air. They take a lot of work, a lot of creativity and they need continuous monitoring and upgrading. Technology can change lives, and coding is part of that change.

Coding is changing the world around us, and so many people are unaware of what coding is. Coders are making a huge contribution every day and it is, centrally, a very creative process. It’s the language of the technology that you use on a daily basis and you can read so much more about what it is used for here. The world of technology is advancing because of coding and here are four ways coding is making the world evolve at a faster pace:


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  1. The Web: Quite an obvious one, but the internet has changed lives in a way we cannot measure. Communication has advanced to be instantaneous from across the world. Companies are switching online on every platform possible and the amount of HTML that sits behind websites – both on computers and on smart phones and tablets is immense. Coding requires a lot of support and companies are studying up on the ultimate log4net tutorial for their business website with great interest.
  2. Databases: More than just something you use to sort your finances, programmers everywhere use databases to help computers to store information that a computer can read and write. They can also delete that information. Facebook holds huge databases of information about its users and businesses need to be able to hold information about their products, consumers and services.
  3. Online Shopping: The amount of coding that supports a website is already huge, but to support the services offered with online shopping, coders have their hands full. Programming that is required for the websites we often take for granted as easy to use is not always easy to implement. Online shopping is still somewhat of a revelation across the globe and programmers work tirelessly to make constant upgrades and changers to improve the user experience.
  4. Blogging: The blogging world is so popular and is evolving at a rapid pace. Coders are part of this evolution. Everyone has a voice and blogging is a platform that allows that voice to be heard. Without coding, the rapid growth of the blogging world would stall. Themes and templates are created by coders at great length and are always available online to look at such as here.

If you can create technology, you have the power to help the world evolve. Companies that understand this are those that will be successful in their technological ventures.

New statistics have been released by digital services comparison website CyberCompare.net. This data clearly shows how important the online world has become in terms of driving things to shop for. It also clearly shows that people use social media and other methods of comparison shopping before deciding to make a purchase.

A UK based company that compares digital services, www.cybercompare.net, has today released fascinating statistics on online shopping and eCommerce. It is a known fact that online shopping is now a business that generates huge amounts of money across the world. Additionally, this field of commerce is growing tremendously. The average growth is 20% per year, and it is raising $1.5 trillion each and every year.


Photo Source: kadvacorp.com

The world of eCommerce changes and evolves on a daily basis. There are constant new pieces of technology, and consumer behaviour never stays the same either. As a result, eCommerce is becoming sophisticate and dynamic. A very big focus at the minute is also on mobile shopping experiences.

There are now various very easy to use platforms for eCommerce. As a result, more and more would-be entrepreneurs are trying to get their foot in the door. These include creators, artists, shops, small business owners and more. They are looking for blogs, website and online stores to make more money. One of the elements they are interested in is domain names, which is why this study was seen as so interesting and necessary for Cyber Compare.

The research showed some very interesting details, which include:

  • 71% of people believe that it is cheaper to shop online than in physical stores.
  • 80% of people have purchased goods or services online in the past year. 50% of people have said to shop online regularly, or at least more than once.
  • In the first quarter of last year, online sales were up by 13% when compared to the first quarter of 2013.
  • Mobile eCommerce is one of the fastest growing areas of focus. It has seen a year on year rise of 35%, and the share of sales that belongs to mobile internet is also much higher.
  • eCommerce sales now cover 18.5% of all online sales, which is up from 13.7% the previous year.
  • Cyber Monday in 2013 still stands as the biggest day of online sales ever. Some US$1.7 billion was spent on that one single day.
  • Generation X spends, on average, $561 online per year, which is 15% more than Generation Y, who spend “just” $489.
  • 36% of people spend at least half an hour comparison shopping prior to making a purchase decision. 65% of all shoppers spent at least 16 minutes comparison shopping.
  • In the UK in particular, 27% of all online sales are completed on a tablet.
  • The European eCommerce market is set to grow by 18%, to US$216 billion.
  • 33% of all online purchases in the United Kingdom are completed after 6pm.
  • 13% of the UK economy is down to online sales. By 2017, it is believed to be 15%, if current trends continue.
  • 46% of people use social media and blogs in order to decide whether or not to make a purchase.
  • 13% of people say that they were compelled to buy something after reading about it on a blog.
  • 84% of people search for a recommendation on social media before they decide to purchase a product.

“We believe that this data clearly shows the importance of comparison shopping, for all goods”, says Anthony Shapley, Managing Director of CyberCompare.net. “It also shows how important it is for businesses to use social media and to have a trustworthy website.”

North Korea has announced the launch of its first online shopping website, called Okryu, state news agency KCNA reported.

Okryu, a state-run website, offers a range of products including food and medicines.North Korea launches online shopping website

The North Korean government says the site is “aimed at promoting convenience for the people”, but it’s not clear how many will actually be able to use it, as internet access is extremely limited outside of elite circles.

Some people can use North Korea’s own state-controlled intranet – known as Kwangmyong – via their smartphones, but computers are prohibitively expensive for the average worker and ownership requires government approval.

Okryu also shows that North Korea has improved its IT systems, Kim Heung-kwang, a former professor at Pyongyang Computer Technology University, told South Korea’s JoongAng Daily.

If you still think mobile sites are a passing trend, you have fallen behind your consumers and your fellow businesses. With consumers and businessmen more and more obsessed with smartphones and the mobile sales conversions rising even higher, mobile optimization is a necessary move to successfully establish your online presence. Here are five ways that mobile optimization is a must for every business’ success:

1. Mobile is Important to Consumers


Image via Flickr by Janitors

According to a Pew Research survey, almost 60 percent of Americans owned a smartphone as of January 2014. And those same Americans use their phone for everything. It’s their camera, their calendar, and their entertainment when they are bored. They invest in everything from car chargers and cradles to smartphone speakers so they that their phone can forever act as the extension of their arm that it is. It is radio, GPS, and email, in addition to such menial tasks as phone calls and texts.

And this smartphone co-dependency transfers to the way they consume products and interact with businesses. Mobile sales rose over 50 percent in 2013, according to Google’s new Mobile Playbook, with almost a fifth of all sales now coming from smartphones and tablets. And if your business doesn’t have a functional mobile site, Google found that almost half of consumers won’t hesitate to turn to a competitor.

2. Mobile is Under-Appreciated

While those numbers should be enough to motivate every business into getting a clean mobile site, GetElastic’s infographic on mobile websites reported that just over a third of businesses had any sort of mobile site in 2013, meaning they are handing off a significant number of future customers every day to more tech-savvy companies.

And while having a mobile site is good, it isn’t the end of the road for mobile interaction. You need to have the right information clearly visible. That means address and hours for brick-and-mortar businesses and an easy-to-use shopping cart for e-commerce companies. Bottom line? Mobile isn’t an upcoming trend. It’s the standard, and if you don’t have it, you are behind.

3. The Mobile Tablet Market Should Be Tapped


Image via Flickr by Janitors

Even though tablets are still a growing market, GetElastic found that tablet users are the most likely to make a purchase, with 72 percent of tablet users making at least one purchase on their tablet a week. In fact, over half of tablet users said that they preferred shopping on their tablet to other electronic devices, making them over three times as likely to make a purchase than smartphone users.

If you are eager to turn mobile tablet views into sales, your site needs to be simple, clean and fast. GetElastic noted that almost all online shopping carts (97 percent) are abandoned due to a cluttered screen.

4. Mobile Optimization is Just the Beginning of Consumer Interaction

Finally, once someone has been to your mobile site, GetElastic found that they are almost guaranteed to engage your business in additional ways. Over 70 percent of users will continue to interact with your brand once they’ve seen your mobile site, whether that is by continuing their research or visiting your store. A quarter of visitors will visit your retail site, and 17 percent will make a purchase afterwards, too.

5. Mobile is Fast

Mobile is an on-the-go and on-a-whim kind of marketplace, so what happens when a mobile site is slow? We already know that a poor mobile experience could send up to 40 percent of consumers to competitors. But over half of the people who do make mobile purchases will do so within an hour of their mobile search. That gives you 60 minutes or less to have a consumer browse your merchandise, pick a product, put it in their shopping cart, and pay for it.

 If the site is slow and cluttered, that 60 minutes blows by and users will be much more likely to abandon their shopping. And if consumers have experienced a slow mobile site—slow enough to deter them from purchasing something—43 percent said they weren’t likely to return.

Currently, in the US statistics show that 80 per cent of the population have access to the internet. The potential for business growth through having a company website is positive. A web presence can attract loyal clients or customer. Most individuals use the internet for reference purposes, keeping up to date with the daily news, or browsing,which increases the probability of accessing your small business website. Your competitors may or may not have a website. The small business website is an effective marketing tool. Your website is accessible worldwide exposing your business to new business territory as the geographical limitations are eliminated as well as time constraints.

Website design- how to make a website

Consumers like well designed websites, that are logical and easy to navigate. The online store is a definite attraction which generates an income 24/7 for the owner if products or services are sold. Website can be designed cost effectively and enhances one’s professional image. E commerce websites are popular and allow one to interact with the customer maintaining dialogue and excellent customer service.


Website presentation has to be considered thoughtfully during the design process. The images one uses on the site and the clarity of the written text, including detailed information about the company will answer most consumer/clients questions. A regular blog can be added to the website informing customers about latest company and product development and news. Overall websites enable one to communicate with your target audience.

The company

Current company vacancies can be listed online, and one can develop one’s workforce through accepting applications for significant roles. One can utilize social media sites to write an introductory script about the company and include links to the main website. Online referrals of companies are read quite frequently by the public and can drive more traffic to your specialist company website. It is easier to view a company prospectus online initially or view a company’s products rather than making a visit to the business.

The role of a website designer

To create a website it is recommended to look for a website designer who can advise you about what is possible for your potential website. Website designers tend to think that a website is quite vital for the success of small businesses. Websites are informative and can improve the long-term financial prospects of a business. Many young entrepreneurs rely on innovative technology to build their businesses.

Overall importance of websites

Websites are versatile; they can be updated at anytime to provide current information. One can begin to gather useful customer information which is important leads for the future. One can email special offers for products to customers who have logged their information on the website. One can target products to a select niche of customers. Not all companies have a website. Some market their business offline or through telemarketing departments within companies. One will find a website can enhance one’s authenticity and extend one’s accessibility.

Argentina has restricted online shopping as part of efforts to stop foreign currency reserves from falling any further.

According to new conditions, anyone buying items through international websites will now need to sign a declaration and produce it at a customs office, where the packages have to be collected.

The procedure will need to be repeated for every new purchase.

Argentina’s reserves of hard currencies dropped by 30% last year.

The government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has introduced a number of restrictions on transactions with foreign currency.

Items imported through websites such as Amazon and eBay are no longer delivered to people’s home addresses. The parcels need to be collected from the customs office.

Argentina has restricted online shopping as part of efforts to stop foreign currency reserves from falling any further

Argentina has restricted online shopping as part of efforts to stop foreign currency reserves from falling any further

Individuals are allowed to buy items up to the value of $25 from abroad tax free every year, but it has been hard for custom officials to keep accurate records of consumers’ transactions.

Once the $25 level is reached, online shoppers in Argentina need to pay a 50% tax on each item bought from international websites.

The government hopes that new declaration will make it easier for customs officials to enforce the import tax.

New currency controls were introduced a week after Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was re-elected in 2011.

Among the restrictions introduced more recently was a 35% tariff on credit card transaction abroad.

Despite the government’s efforts, Argentina’s reserves are now below $30 billion – their lowest level since 2006.

Currency controls, which were common in most countries until the mid-1980s were dropped in Argentina in 1991. Finance Minister Domingo Cavallo pegged the local currency, the peso, to the dollar.

The plan collapsed 10 years later, when the government was forced to devalue its currency.

Argentina eventually froze bank accounts and defaulted on its debts. It has since struggled to attract foreign loans at market rates.

Apple will pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to parents whose children made in-app purchases without their consent after a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The refund agreement settles long-standing complaints over in-app purchases made by children without their parents’ consent.

Apple will also be required to change its billing procedures to make sure customers have given consent before they are charged for in-app purchases.

The company said it had settled rather than take on a “long legal fight”.

“This settlement is a victory for consumers harmed by Apple’s unfair billing, and a signal to the business community: whether you’re doing business in the mobile arena or the mall down the street, fundamental consumer protections apply,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a statement.

“You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize.”

Apple will pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to parents whose children made in-app purchases without their consent

Apple will pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to parents whose children made in-app purchases without their consent

The FTC’s complaint alleged that Apple failed to inform parents that by entering a password they were approving a single in-app purchase and also 15 minutes of additional unlimited purchases their children could make without further consent.

It also said that Apple often presented a password prompt screen for parents to enter their details without explaining that this would finalize any purchase made in the app.

The FTC also noted that Apple received at “least tens of thousands of complaints” about unauthorized in-app purchases by children.

This refund settlement only covers customers who have made purchases through Apple’s US app store.

The changes to Apple’s billing process, which means express consent must be obtained before in-app charges are made, must be in place by March 31, said the FTC.

Apple’s App Store offers many games for children, a large number of which allow in-app purchases to be made. These purchases can include virtual items or currency, and typically allow faster progression in the game.

In-app purchases can range in cost – from 99 cents to just under $100.

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On Cyber Monday, the biggest day of the year for e-commerce in the US, online sales rose 18.4% to $1.735 billion, a record for a single day, according to comScore.

Online sales grew at a torrid pace, rising 22% between Thursday and Cyber Monday, according to data firm comScore.

That does not include sales made using a mobile device such as a smart phone or a tablet.

Cyber Monday fell on December 2 in 2013.

The long Thanksgiving weekend sets the tone for the holiday season, when retailers get about 30% of their annual sales.

Total in-store sales between Thanksgiving Day on Thursday and Sunday rose 1% compared to the same period last year, while the number of visits to stores fell 4%, ShopperTrak said. ShopperTrak has forecast sales at stores will rise 2.4% for November and December together.

During “Black Weekend” 2013, shoppers spent an estimated $22.2 billion, compared to last year’s $22 billion, said ShopperTrak.

Cyber Monday fell on December 2 in 2013

Cyber Monday fell on December 2 in 2013

On Sunday, the National Retail Federation estimated Americans had spent 2.9% less over the weekend.

Shoppers appeared to be waiting a bit longer to do their Christmas shopping, perhaps holding out for deals. An Ipsos poll of almost 1,400 Americans over the weekend found 77% had done at least some of their holiday shopping by Black Friday, compared to 81% on the same day last year.

According to IBM data, sales through mobile devices rose 55%.

The biggest beneficiaries of the surge in online sales were marketplaces run by e-commerce leaders Amazon.com and eBay, according to data released by ChannelAdvisor, a provider of e-commerce software to retailers that tracks online sales.

Sales on Amazon‘s and eBay‘s marketplaces rose 30% on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

They did well in part because of how well suited their sites are to use on mobile devices, said ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo.

Wal-Mart Stores said Monday was the all-time highest online sales day but declined to give a figure or a growth rate compared with last year.

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days of the year, and companies go all out with marketing.

Most brands save their best online deals for the weekend after Thanksgiving, giving consumers a chance to buy coveted items at slashed prices just in time for the holidays.

Whether you are online shopper (and you love Cyber Monday) or love the thrill of digging through a bargain bin (and love Black Friday), we suggest preparing yourself for this momentous shopping extravaganza with these tips:

1.        Create a budget

Before you create your list, you need a carefully planned budget. This will further help you avoid those impulse purchases.

2.        Make a list and check it twice

Shopping a sale can be dangerous, as the idea of markdowns can have you purchasing items you don’t need. To avoid spending on frivolous items, make a list and don’t deviate from it.

3.        Check return policies

The downside to buying on final sale or clearance usually means no returns. Or, the time period for returns is short, so know before you go.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days of the year, and companies go all out with marketing

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days of the year, and companies go all out with marketing

4.     Dress appropriately

There is no need to dress to impress on Black Friday. Everyone is there for one reason: to shop. Sneakers and leggings are appropriate attire for efficient shopping. Also, it makes time in the fitting room quick and easy.

5.     Bring cash for Black Friday

The line at the register can seem neverending on Black Friday. Don’t be the one that holds it up because of a faulty credit card.

6.     Check the lay of the land

It is best to know the territory. Time spent looking for the electronics section is time lost.

7.     Drive-by shopping

Finding a parking space can be nightmare. And by the time you find a spot, the store would be practically half empty. Arrange for a ride there and home.

8.     Shop with your home computer on Cyber Monday

If Cyber Monday is your day to splurge, make sure you do it in the comfort of your home with your own computer. For security reasons, you don’t want to be shopping on a public computer.

9.     Shop with a credit card or Paypalon Cyber Monday

Scams are common online, so make sure you avoid the heartache that comes with bank fraud—read: don’t use debit cards. Most credit cards come with anti-fraud protection. Paypal is another secure way to shop online.

 10.   Get Cyber Monday coupons in advance

Most websites have promo codes a few days before, offering even more of a discount on select items.


Black Friday 2013 is just days away and the Iowa Attorney General’s office warns consumers to be savvy shoppers and read the fine print when using ads to map out shopping strategies.

Officials there and at the National Retail Federation offer these tips:

• Read store ads carefully. Is the store offering sale items at a limited quantity? Can you get a rain check if it’s an out-of-stock sale item?

• Use the Internet to compare prices, not just the Black Friday ads but also retailers’ regular websites.

Black Friday 2013 is just days away and the Iowa Attorney General's office warns consumers to be savvy shoppers and read the fine print when using ads to map out shopping strategies

Black Friday 2013 is just days away and the Iowa Attorney General’s office warns consumers to be savvy shoppers and read the fine print when using ads to map out shopping strategies

• Take the ad with you when you go shopping to make sure you find the precise item at the price advertised. It’s often a good idea to go to the store now to see if the items you want have the quality and features you desire.

• Check to see if your favorite retailer offers an option to buy online and pick up in store. That will allow you to skip the frenzy and head to the customer service counter.

• Focus on bottom-line prices, not discounts. Discount claims may not reflect real savings if the seller inflated the original price of an item.

• Know retailers’ return and exchange policies. Some have a specified number of days in which to return items. Others will give the recipient credit for their after-holiday clearance price without a gift receipt, and some won’t let you return an item bought online to a physical store.