Cyber Monday falls on December 2nd this year and online shoppers are already working on their shopping list. How about you, small business owner? Are you ready for the busiest sales day of the year? You better be or you’ll be missing out on sales. Here’s a checklist to help you get your ducks in a row:
1. Your Website – How easily found is your website? Think about it, the busiest sales day of the year revolves around the internet, so your website is your store and it should be looking splendid (yes, decorate it, too!) Big brands have been working for months now to make sure they show up on the top of search engine page results (SERPs), their best sellers are easily found, and their conversion process is easily completed in just a couple of clicks. If your site is clunky and not easily found, spend some time on it right now (yesterday would have been better) to improve your content, navigation, and SEO. Also, it’s a good idea to spend some money on Google AdWords to help you generate more traffic to your website. Trust me, people shop online for a reason – convenience. They really don’t want to work hard to buy from you.
2. Stock and Delivery – If you did well last year on Cyber Monday, you should expect an increase this year as consumers get more adept at using their mobile devices to shop anytime, anywhere. In fact, retailers are expecting sales growth on Thanksgiving Day (while some nap after dinner, others watch football, and many shop!), Black Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Cyber Monday and Tuesday. That’s right, six days of sales paradise! Shoppers are armed with their credit cards and primed to buy, but if you run out of stock or fail to deliver on time, your brand will suffer dramatically, so make sure you’re ready to shine!
3. Have a sales plan – Shoppers will be looking for the best deals they can get, so spend some time to figure out how you can be competitive. Here’s an example of a six-day promotion to consider:
Thanksgiving Day: Offer a deep discount, plus a free gift between 6:00 pm and midnight.
Black Friday: Offer a deep discount site wide, plus give shoppers a coupon for Cyber Monday (make it good to share with friends and family.)
Saturday and Sunday: Select 6-8 items per day and offer one per hour at 25–30% off. Once again, you should give shoppers a coupon for Cyber Monday.
Cyber Monday: Offer 30-40% off site wide.
Cyber Tuesday: Decrease your site-wide discount to 25%, but offer a few items (think stocking stuffers) at a deeper discount.
4. Get the hype going, but don’t overdo it – Put your creative hat on and come up with engaging social media posts and emails to get your customers excited about your promotions, but be gentle! Everyone will get bombarded with email messages, so cut through the noise with smart subject lines and enticing promotions. The same goes for social media – get creative and write posts that will peak the curiosity of your followers. Make use of images, video, and humor. Also, spend some money advertising on Facebook to help drive traffic to your website.
5. Customer service matters, a lot – Make sure your employees are well trained and ready to help. In fact, schedule a couple of extra people to help out during these six days, especially someone who can fix any website malfunction that may occur that could prevent customers from processing their orders.
According to comScore, the U.S. saw a whopping 22% sales increase between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday in 2013. In fact, retailers sold 56% more on Cyber Monday last year than on Black Friday. This trend tells us something: consumers prefer to buy at their convenience at home than elbow fight people at the department stores, as long as you have good deals and make it convenient for them. How successful the holiday season will be, is partially up to you, so get ready now!