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14 Secrets Retailers Don't Want You to Know About Cyber Monday Deals for 2019

Stay a step—or a click—ahead of retailers with these tips about Cyber Monday deals.

By now, you're probably pretty familiar with Cyber Monday, the digital cousin of Black Friday. It's the day retailers might lead you believe is the absolute best day of the year to shop—even better than the aforementioned Friday event because you don't have to so much as get up off your couch, let alone leave the house. But is it really the day to snag the best online deals of the year?  The answer is yes, as long as you know the secrets that retailers would rather keep you in the dark about. Straight from the source, we asked experts to share their most valuable insider tips about Cyber Monday deals so that you can feel confident that you're getting the best price possible!

The original price of a sale item may not be as advertised.

Woman shopping sales online in her living room

Sometimes, retailers simply mark up prices so that their sales seem like more of a bargain. For example, "if a product regularly retails for $50, they might have a 'slashed' price of $75 with a sale for $40. This makes it look like they're offering $35 off, when they're truly only offering $10 off," says Calloway Cook, founder of the e-commerce business Illuminate Labs. "I would recommend consumers look at the historical prices for the product so they can tell if the Cyber Monday sale is truly a bargain. This is easy to do on Amazon by looking at the price history."

And don't be fooled by the percentage of a discount, either.

black man looks at online sale on laptop while online shopping

Don't let retailers outsmart you, or to put it more accurately, don't let them trick you. "Oftentimes, lines that are deeply discounted began their time on the shelf at an artificially inflated original price with the end goal of later discounting. This is a common psychological marketing tactic used by retailers of all kinds," says John Moss, CEO of "Additionally, some lines that are deeply discounted are cheap because the retailer is having problems moving them. By adding them to a Cyber Monday sale when people tend to make impulse buys and commonly overspend, retailers can ensure that [they're] more likely to move."

Retailers will always try to give you the old bait and switch.

white couple looks at online sale on tablet while online shopping

Before you make a purchase, double check that the product you're buying is a match for the attractive deal you think it is. "Many retailers order Black Friday/Cyber Monday-specific models for the sales," says Derek Hales, founder and editor in chief of the product review site "For example, they may order a $4,000 65-inch LED TV that looks exactly like that normal $1,500 model and then, lo and behold, it's on sale for $999. But the truth is that the [discount] models are generally lower quality and stripped of important features, software, and hardware that may be found in the true high-end models," he explains. "This tactic occurs in a number of product categories, but is particularly widespread in the TV category at major retailers."

You can check the model numbers to suss out items of inferior quality.

product quality check

Now that you have a healthy suspicion of big ticket items that seem too good to be true, how can you make sure you don't get taken? "If you're shopping for a TV on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you absolutely must look at the model number and compare it with the real model," Hales says. "If you see extra numbers or letters appended to the model, you can be sure that's probably a model made specifically for Cyber Monday and you should absolutely avoid it."

There's often an extra coupon code to score.

coupon code

Even if a sale already looks good, you definitely don't want to squander the chance of getting an even better deal–so you should always search for coupons before you check out online. Use sites like Retail Me Not and to help point you in the right direction of where to find discount codes. Even with their Cyber Monday sales in effect, retailers may still honor unrelated coupon codes in addition to the already discounted price, allowing you to double—or even triple—dip on savings!

And you can download tools to find those coupons for you.

online discount concept

Retailers likely count on, or at least hope, that the majority of consumers aren't willing to put in the effort to research and find all the available coupon codes they could potentially use. But it's actually pretty easy to dig up the best working coupon code—even easier than scouring the aforementioned sites that aggregate them. You can save a step by installing a browser extension like Rakuten (formally, Ebates) or Honey that will search those coupon codes for you. It's like having a shopping assistant you don't have to pay for!

You can unsubscribe after signing up for promotions that give you an extra discount.

newsletter open on ipad

You might be getting a great deal on that Cyber Monday item, but you could turn it into an even better score by providing your name and email for additional discounts. Yes, you will receive e-newsletters and ads as a result—they've collected your data for that very purpose, after all—but you can always unsubscribe after you score that deal you wanted at an even steeper discount because you signed up.

And you can still negotiate.


Bet you didn't think that you could haggle over the price of something when shopping online, but it turns out the skill doesn't only come in handy at souks and garage sales. Give it a shot at the online negotiation site PriceWaiter.

Here's how it works: As you are shopping and find something of interest, click "make an offer." The site will then show you typical prices for the product around the web. After you make your offer, the site will negotiate the price for you in real time. You can even counter offer until you settle on a price that you are comfortable with. So what's the incentive on the back end? Well, shoppers get the negotiated deal, and sellers get to move the inventory, attract new customers, and drive sales. (And yes, PriceWaiter gets a cut, too—everyone wins.)

You can save even more by using cash back sites.

cashback button on keyboard

You can stretch the value of a dollar even further by signing up for cash back sites, which will actually give you money in return for making a purchase—so it's like receiving an additional discount on something you were going to buy anyway. "TopCashback and Rakuten are favorites among shoppers," says Stephen Culp, CEO of PriceWaiter.

Danielle Directo-Meston, founder and editor of the Los Angeles retail and shopping site Uncover LA, explains her personal cash back strategy: "I usually check Rakuten first to see if I can earn a little bit back on purchases that I would have made anyway. I've noticed that they tend to offer between 2 to 10 percent cash back, and during the holidays, sometimes they'll have special events of up to 20 percent off, depending on the retailer or e-comm site." Score!

You can sign up for specific retailers' apps to get in early.


"Tech-savvy shoppers can get ahead on their gift-buying early by getting alerts from retailers' apps," says Directo-Meston. "In an effort to lure in shoppers ahead of Cyber Monday, many mass retailers will release their Black Friday preview ads in advance. Target is a prime example: It already shared its Black Friday circular on its Circle app."

There are robots that will track deals for you.

online deals on tablet

We all love a good deal, but it's the holidays and you don't want to spend all your time shopping. To help free up more time to spend hanging out with family or indulging in leftovers, think about delegating the task of price tracking to sites like Slickdeals and CamelCamelCamel, suggests Culp. These trackers monitor millions of products around the web and will send you alerts automatically when prices drop—that way, you know definitively the best time to buy.

Some stores will price match Cyber Monday deals from other retailers.

black couple online shopping excitedly while sitting on couch

You can get the product you want from the store you want—even if it's not the one advertising the best deal. "Retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart all price match during the holiday season, allowing you to get the item for less by showing the ad or online price of non-sale items," says Meghan Anders of the online gift card marketplace Raise. "Make sure to have the Amazon app installed on your phone, where you can scan the item for the Amazon price and price match in store at local retailers."

And others will actually give you money back if you already overspent.

Crazy Facts About Dollar Bills

"Thanks to retailers' price-adjustment policies, you may be able to get the best price regardless of when and where you do your holiday shopping," says Anders. "Apps like Earny automatically monitor when retailers drop the price on something you already bought, then contact the company to get you money back, without you needing to lift a finger."

You probably won't lose that Cyber Monday deal until the end of the week.

cyber monday sales

So you were prepared, you did your research, and you got great deals on Cyber Monday—good for you! But what if you wake up Tuesday morning and think of a holiday gift or special item you missed? Relax, you're probably fine. These days, Consumer Reports notes, retailers often continue those deals well beyond the big day—sometimes even for a full Cyber Week. So you've still got time to score that deal!

Alesandra Dubin
Alesandra Dubin is a lifestyle editor and writer based in Los Angeles. Read more
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