By David Tomas, on 5 November 2020
This year hasn’t exactly been business as usual, yet according to Deloitte, many shoppers are still poised for major holiday spending. And If numbers from last spring’s lockdown are any indication, people are even more likely to shop online this holiday season. The question is: are your marketing efforts and online store ready for the surge? In 2019 shoppers spent $9.4 billion on Cyber Monday, a $1.5 billion jump from 2018 according to Adobe Analytics. Predictions for 2020 show a slow down but spending is still set to grow 1.5%. With the impact of COVID -19 it’s predicted that many people will spend less, or more discriminately due to uncertainties.
With that said many companies are ready to give consumers what they want at price points they’re willing to pay. Some if not all brick and mortar stores might be closed for Black Friday, giving Cyber Monday a full rush of shoppers eager to snatch up super deals from the safety of their homes. In fact Cyber Monday falls on November 30th this year meaning we’re less than a month away.
You’ve probably spent months preparing your promotional calendar and store, but here are eleven tips to make sure you’re ready for Cyber Monday ecommerce and to increase your 2020 sales.
What is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday is a marketing term referring to the Monday following Thanksgiving and the infamous Black Friday. A 24hr shopping event that encourages online spending, Cyber Monday can be seen as a continuation of Black Friday and has become a central pillar of the holiday shopping calendar. Started in 2005, Cyber Monday is now the biggest online shopping day of the year. And with each passing year shoppers are getting ever-earlier head starts on buying.
Retailers now utilize data from the whole week before Thanksgiving and Black Friday to tweak their online offerings to match demand. In fact, the two shopping extravaganzas are now bridged by what’s known as ‘Cyber Weekend’, as prices are slashed lower and lower leading from Friday towards Monday. And without further adieu, here are top tips to prepare for Cyber Monday.
11 Tips to Prepare Your Online Store for Cyber Monday
- Review and plan your marketing strategy
- Optimize for mobile
- Stabilize & Optimize for the Cyber Monday Rush
- Make Sure Logistics are Up to the Task
- Pamper Your Cyber Monday Customers
- Partner with Instagram Influencers
- Boost Your Ad Spending
- Roll Out New Products
- Start Your Sale on Black Friday...or Earlier
- Leverage Existing Customers
- Make Checking Out Painless and Easy
1. Review and plan your marketing strategy
Did you run a Cyber Monday campaign last season? If so, review your data and look for insights into what worked how you can replicate that success (taking new trends and other factors into account). Have you started preparing for Cyber Monday? If you haven’t already, begin creating momentum and suspense around your upcoming deals—the sooner the better. This can be achieved through many techniques:
- Teasing email marketing campaigns
- Social media sneak peeks including Facebook and Instagram live
- Reimagining your website/shop to make Cyber Monday products irresistible
- Sharing Cyber Monday offers across deal sites, subreddits, forums, Facebook Groups
- Paid search ads - people are looking to buy, not just browse; invest heavily in keyword research
- Create a gift guide - create a special collection of products or write an in depth blog post.
2. Optimize for mobile
It goes without saying that creating a user friendly, responsive and enjoyable mobile shopping experience is an absolute MUST. Make sure your online shop performs seamlessly across devices and you’ll secure a big slice of that growing M-commerce shopping pie.
3. Stabilize & Optimize for the Cyber Monday Rush
Is your online store ready for the surge? Site performance and usability are essential to a successful holiday shopping campaign. Shoppers are very fickle and won’t put up with long loading times, unresponsive processes and clumsy design. At all costs you need to avoid a site crash, as happened to Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret and QVC in 2016, who lost millions in sales. So speak with your IT team to make sure you can handle traffic load. Having back ups and contingency plans are also musts for Cyber Monday preparation.
4. Make Sure Logistics are Up to the Task
Behind every great ecommerce there’s great logistics. Whether a micro business or a large team, your inventory, warehousing and shipping needs to be on point. The holiday shopping season is the Super Bowl for retailers and you can’t afford logistical mistakes. This means rallying the troops and creating specific strategies to maximize efficiency and effectiveness; product needs to be packed and shipped as quickly as possible. If you use a third party for fulfillment, make sure they are 100% capable of handling the extra load. At all costs avoid selling items that are out of stock as you’ll likely end up with a mountain of back orders you simply won’t be able to fulfill before the holidays.
Bonus Tip: Resolve complaints on social media and elsewhere immediately to avoid a snowballing effect. People are especially intolerant of late orders around the holidays.
5. Pamper Your Cyber Monday Customers
Make repeat and top spending customers feel appreciated by offering special perks. This could be a VIP type experience with express checkout, priority shipping and access to unique product specific content, for example. Another option would be to offer them early access to deals, or even an extra level of customer service suited to their specific needs. This will pay dividends later as these loyal customers will likely be back for more even after the holiday rush.
6. Partner with Instagram Influencers
Collaborating with Instagram influencers can be a great way to stand out amongst the barrage of advertising people are being hit with over the Cyber Weekend. Find an influencer who compliments your brand and reach out. They can help promote your product(s) with IG live or stories showing sneak peeks, unboxing and even sharing special discount codes. Make sure the person you partner with is capable of engaging with users and can help build suspense leading towards Cyber Monday.
7. Boost Your Ad Spending
Just about everyone will be increasing their ad spend leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Despite this creating a more competitive CPC for advertisers, increasing spending is seen as a justifiable investment due to the significant returns. By increasing your reach you can get more eyes on your upcoming deals and secure more sales. By starting your campaign early you can then adjust for more conversions as the Cyber Weekend draws near. With big and bold ads with serious discounts, you’ll be sure to grab attention.
8. Roll Out New Products
Preparing for Cyber Monday provides the perfect opportunity to showcase new and exciting products. Shoppers are always on the lookout for new releases and the latest and greatest. The event could even be perfect to offer exclusive product styles only available on the day of the sale—exclusivity and urgency creates demand.
9. Start Your Sale on Black Friday...or Earlier
This tactic needs special attention to make sure you don’t let the cat out of the bag. Find a way to either put on a whole Cyber Weekend sale, or start earlier Thanksgiving week, to maximize sales. The trick here is to build interest as the days pass and encourage repeat buying from existing customers. Offer less-in demand products that you need to move early and remarket your best selling items to those existing customers as Cyber Monday nears.
10. Leverage Existing Customers
Acquiring a new paying customer can cost up to five times more than retaining an existing one. Furthermore, successfully selling to current customers has a 60 -70% success rate. Selling to a new customer, meanwhile, typically has only a 5-20% chance of success . Those numbers alone should tell you that you need to create as much value for your existing base and keep them loyal to your brand. How can we do that?
- Automate regular communications
- Keep them informed with useful, valuable content
- Offer exclusive deals and free gifts
- Cross market and upsell at any opportunity
- Use your email list to promote and inform
11. Make Checking Out Painless and Easy
This is where the rubber meets the road, successful checkouts are our primary goal here. 34 different studies show that 69% of shoppers abandon carts for various reasons. And there are tons of hot deals and competition is fierce, which means a sluggish checkout can erase all other efforts making this point especially vital to Cyber Monday success. Here are a few ways to limit abandoned carts and ensure successful checkouts:
- Make sure your checkout is mobile friendly
- Allow order modifications and make them easy
- Create option for purchasing without registration
- Make error messages as clear and understandable as possible
- Offer payment options for high ticket items
- Remove unnecessary content like headers and footers
- Ask for payment info last
- Provide a live chat during checkout
- Offer an additional discount with an exit intent pop up
- Upsell or cross sell before checkout
As Benjamin Franklin put it so well, “Failing to plan, is planning to fail”. And there’s no silver bullet for how to prepare for Cyber Monday, yet with a bit of planning, ingenuity and attention to detail you can build a sales monster machine for the holiday shopping season. The 11 tips shared above are only a few of many ways ecommerce businesses can market and perform for the big day.