Leaves are turning orange, the weather is bringing people out in scarves and jackets and that means holiday season is just around the corner! Holiday shopping yielded over $2.5 billion in online sales during the 5-day window including Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year bringing millions of Americans to flood stores as early as 12a.m. Shoppers line up hours early at the promise of huge discounts. But what does this holiday shopping spree mean for ecommerce businesses with no physical store? Cyber Monday has become the biggest day in online sales since its arrival in 2005.
Consumers are choosing Cyber Monday over the frenzy of Black Friday shopping because it gives them unique benefits as shoppers. They can move from store to store instantly, making price comparison shopping easy with just a click of a mouse. This should be the biggest online sales day of the year for any seasonal business. The experts are expecting a 2% growth overall compared to last year, but predict a 15% bump in non-store sales. Start preparing now for the landslide today by following our simple Cyber Monday marketing tips.
1) Plan Your Advertising Strategy – Advertising for the upcoming holiday season is the most competitive time of the year. Large stores such as Target, Walmart and Best Buy have already brought out the big guns gaining placement over all popular shopping channels. In 2009, conversion rates on paid advertisements were up by 30% on Cyber Monday compared to the rest of the year. For the 2010 shopping season, consider a highly targeted ad campaign that approaches your market specifically. Instead of grabbing at the droves of shoppers circulating online, find the best value proposition possible and target those customers seeking deals. Consider advertising on major holiday shopping destination sites such as cybermonday.com that peaked with unique visitors around 2 million the month of December compared to their normal monthly average of 8,000. Consider affiliate marketing as part of your overall mix.
2) Have Big Deals –Don’t expect miracles. Shoppers are more used to online discounts than ever. Don’t expect to score big points with consumers with a basic free shipping coupon on Cyber Monday. Consumers are on the hunt for the best bargain they can find. With the ease of comparison shopping, your consumer won’t bite for anything short of extraordinary. Create promotions that add value to the equation for your customers. Connect with them on a personal level and give them compelling reasons to buy from you instead of sites like Amazon.
3) Optimize for Search Engines – Smart SEO should be a core component of your ecommerce strategy. Consider what shoppers will experience when they come across your site in organic search results. Create a strong title and meta description that will excite search engine shoppers with a compelling call-to-action and increase click-thrus. If you use Google’s product search, Amazon or other shopping-comparison websites, optimize your product feed and revisit your product details to make sure they are appropriate for the season.
4) Prepare for a Spike in Sales – $2 billion in sales in one day is a lot of traffic. Make sure your website is fully optimized to handle the extra load, and that your server is up to snuff. Hire seasonal phone and warehouse staff with ample time for training to fulfill orders and manage customer service inquiries. Even for the biggest online retailers, the effectiveness of your supply chain and customer service measures will be tested on Cyber Monday. Audit your entire delivery system and prepare your staff for an overwhelming influx of customers.
5) Know What You Can Sell, and Optimize for It – By knowing your strongest market, you can create a targeted list of products. Wal-Mart created a list of 100 toys for less than $10. Consider powerful tools like autocomplete and automated product recommendations as part of your site-search and category page delivery. For your business, this strategic selling should include specific products, a focused scope of products, and perfect pricing.
Incorporate these guidelines in your holiday preparations to truly make Cyber Monday you’re biggest day of the year.