Fired up for Cyber Monday, shoppers go online for deals

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Happy Cyber Monday, billed as one of the busiest online-commerce days of the year. Millions of consumers plan to point-and-click their way to savings.

But the day focused on e-commerce is changing. CNN reports that some major retailers will offer more than one special day of discounts to online shoppers. While retailers are still trumpeting deals for this Monday, many such as Amazon, Target, and Walmart are promoting "Cyber Week" and extending Web-only deals through next weekend. Examiner.com noted that Target's website offers a list of CyberWeek deals.

The concept of the day started in 2005, with the idea that shoppers hit the malls over the Black Friday, then logged onto their high speed Internet connection at work on Monday morning to buy online. But a syndicated story carried in the Star Tribune, said this year, shoppers are less likely to use desktop or even laptop computers. The story said that 40 percent of shoppers will use their mobile devices for holiday shopping this year, and nearly 70 percent of all smartphone owners will shop for gifts from their iPhones or Android devices. Experts add that tablets are driving commerce, with about 41 percent of consumers shopping from their tablets in the next few weeks.

Bloomberg News notes that many consumers have not waited for Monday. Armed with tablets and smartphones, shoppers have already been online in droves. Online holiday sales will increase as much as 15 percent to $82 billion, more than three times faster than the total gain of 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

WCCO talked to cyber-shopping expert and digital strategy expert Christopher Pollard in advance of the day. He reminds shoppers not to shop online on public computers. Be careful if you are online at your local coffee shop or library that offers Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi that requires a password provides more security.

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota has additional tips for online safety. Suggestions include making sure your computer has the most recent updates, anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a secure firewall, and remembering to protect your personal information. Other tips: Keep documentation of your order and check your credit card statements often. Don’t wait for paper statements; the BBB recommends checking statements online regularly to catch suspicious activity.

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