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November 24. 2012 10:21PM

Big online savings predicted for Cyber Monday


Charts showing trend in the number of U.S. consumers who shop on Cyber Monday (Monday after Thanksgiving) and the top promotions merchants say they will offer online this year on Cyber Monday. (MCT 2012)
MILFORD - Online holiday shopping is expected to increase about 18 percent this year, says Robert Wilkins, founder and CEO of the young Internet startup FreePriceAlerts.

And online prices are primed to be more competitive than ever, said Wilkins, who noted that a lot of retailers offered Black Friday prices online in advance of the actual day.

Though shoppers may expect higher prices from big name stores, Wilkins advises them to keep an open mind because many of those big name stores are offering great deals this year.

"We've already seen some great deals from Macy's come across where they are lowering their prices on kitchen items, lower than we've ever seen before," he said. "We all know that traditional shops tend to be more pricey, but I think all these guys are being very competitive online this year. . Online shopping is even more competitive than it used to be."

Shoppers looking to save big on Nov. 26's Cyber Monday - considered the kickoff to the online shopping season - can increase their savings through Wilkins' price search engine, www.FreePriceAlerts.com, and its new feature, Ziftr, he said.

The Milford-based company that was launched in Peterborough two years ago expects to exceed 1 million users this holiday season.

"We've got a lot of really cool things that we're doing," Wilkins said. "We're flying right now. We're going to double our users in the next couple of days."

The FreePriceAlerts service automatically alerts Web surfers to potential savings while they are shopping the sites they normally visit. Once the price engine is added to your browser, it searches for the best price every time the user shops online retail sites.

Tens of thousands of leading retailers work with FreePriceAlerts, including Amazon, Macy's, Home Depot, BestBuy, Sears and Walmart.

Ziftr, a recently added component to FreePriceAlerts, tracks shopping trends and prices for users.

"It's like a Twitter feed for products," Wilkins said of Ziftr. "You can go there now and you can look at the hottest things that people are looking at."

On average, FreePriceAlerts save users $26 each purchase, but based on the expected online deals this holiday season, Wilkins said, he expects that average savings number to increase.

Most Cyber Monday sales are a continuation of Black Friday sales, but there are also online retailers who will have special offers only on that day and sometimes for a short period of time.

Wilkins said he recently saw an offer online from Sears that lasted only 35 minutes.

"I saw a great deal on a tool set that I've never seen before," Wilkins said.


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Meghan Pierce may be reached at mpierce@newstote.com.

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