Last Cyber Monday, I rushed to pack a hot sale BBQ into my virtual shopping cart. I texted my daughter to make sure my son-in-law really wanted it as this deal was non-returnable for a limited amount. I entered my credit card number as soon as she responded. Moments later, I got an email: “Sorry, sold out.”
I didn’t have a grill, just someone who was counting on getting one. I bought the grill but for more than double the price of the deal I missed.
Welcome to FOMO. Fear of missing out has become one of the big marketing tactics of the holiday season. Scarcity – a limited quantity, a small window of time – pressures consumers to act quickly for fear of missing out. To resist that impulse, it can help to decide ahead of time about spending limits, whether to buy a non-returnable item, and other guidelines before adrenaline and emotions kick in.
Besides recognizing FOMO, there are other ways to be a savvy shopper on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving (November 29 this year), often the last hurray for Black Friday deals.
Be realistic about possible delays
Jane Boyd Thomas, a marketing professor at Winthrop University in South Carolina, thinks gifts that don’t show up in time for the holidays could be the story of Cyber Monday 2021. She expects many people to be disappointed when they get a receipt and even a shipping notification, only to be told days later that the shipment has been delayed. Some retailers have both in-store and online deals, and you may be able to avoid shipping altogether. If not, consider printing out a product photo and gift wrapping it.