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Last year was one for the books. Cyber Monday brought in a record $6.59 billion in sales, an almost-17% increase over the previous year. At least $2 billion in sales came directly from mobile devices, another first for the e-commerce world.
Cyber Monday has been around for a decade and continues to play a pivotal role in E-commerce. It’s now bigger than both Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day, both in terms of the number of shoppers and the amount of revenue generated.
For many e-tailers, Cyber Monday is the redeeming factor for a lackluster calendar year. If you haven’t been bringing in good numbers, your Cyber Monday success could set it all right- if you’re well prepared.
Here’s how to get your website Cyber Monday ready so you can cash in on (hopefully) another record-breaking year:
Start Preparing NOW
Cyber Monday takes place the Monday after Thanksgiving, but it’s never too soon to start prepping your website, products, and marketing for the coming influx.
For many, they expect to find equal-or-better prices to Black Friday sales, in addition to seasonal items and unique finds that make the shopping experience different than an average visit to your site. This day isn’t just a continuation of your current E-commerce store, but rather a completely different experience that should have more to offer than your typical goods.
Even if you’re not ready to announce your specials, you should start considering things like which products will be on sale, how you plan to market them, and how you should price them.
Test Your Website Traffic Capacity
Prepare yourself for a wave of traffic like you’ve never experienced before. It sounds like a dream come true, but be warned that too many hits at the same time can cause your website to crash – and send ready buyers to your nearest competitor.
You need to test your website to make sure it can handle spikes in traffic. Tools like Load Impact can test server load capacity. You should also look at load time. Studies show that slow load time is one of the biggest players in website abandonment. Even a four-second delay can send up to a quarter of your viewers elsewhere.
Anticipate Inventory Issues
Inventory issues have been the bane of many e-tailers, and Cyber Monday has added a layer of complexity. Some items may fly off the digital shelves early. You don’t always know what’s going to sell well.
Automating your inventory and bridging the gap between customer orders and your in-stock supply can create a better buying experience. Consider including notices when inventory gets low. Or, when you sell out of an item, adding a date when the item will be back in stock can be helpful in building trust and cementing future sales.
Create a Buzz
Start building momentum early by teasing Cyber Monday deals and new products. You can add catchy banner images to your website, post sneak peeks on social media, and let people know when the products will be ready for purchase.
You might also consider taking pre-orders for certain items so you have a better idea of how much inventory you need.
Create a Mobile-Friendly Experience
Ideally, you’ve already optimized your website for mobile audiences. But if not, you should realize you’re missing out on Cyber Monday sales.
Over $2 billion in revenue from last year’s Cyber Monday came from mobile shoppers, and the trend will likely continue this year.
Test your website from your own mobile device and look for ways to make shopping an easier experience on smaller screens.
Get Your Products on Blogs and Gift Guides
It seems like every major website and news outlet have their own picks for top gifts each holiday season. Have you ever wondered how these items are selected?
Here’s a hint: it’s not always organic.
Consider reaching out to bloggers and websites that are known for publishing gift guides each year and show them why your product deserves a spot. You could even offer the publisher a small commission in return for including your product.
When people see your product on other blogs and guides, they can click the link and go directly to your website to order.
This type of marketing can take weeks to finalize, so start pitching as soon as you can to maximize your impact.
Build Your Creative Elements
Creating ads and compelling copy takes time. For starters, you’ve got to handle the influx of new products for the holidays. Plus, you’ve also got to create promotional material for special pricing and other deals.
Think about the forms of advertising you plan to do. Social media ads and email marketing will all need copy and images. Bids on Google ads can increase during peak times like the holidays, so you’ll need to plan your budget around the keywords you want to bid on.
This is a huge time suck for many e-tailers. Outsourcing some of the content creation can take some of the strain off your team, plus it’s easy to scale. Having your creative elements in place as soon as possible means you can start advertising as soon as you’re ready without feeling rushed to put something together quickly.
Create a Backup Plan
What happens when you run into a pricing issue? What about if your shipping provider falls through? Need a quick tweak on your e-commerce website?
Things happen at inopportune times, and you should have a backup plan in the event of a disaster. Cyber Monday is the most important 24 hours for many e-tailers, and you can’t afford for small nuisances to stand in between you and a profitable quarter.
May the Odds Be In Your Favor
Cyber Monday continues to wow, shock, and thrill busy holiday shoppers, and the experience you deliver on this day can continue to work in your favor for the rest of the year and into the next. Take time to promote, test, and tweak to create a standout buying experience and enjoy a profitable holiday shopping season.