It’s been nine years since the term “Cyber Monday” first appeared in a press release by shop.org, the digital division of the National Retail Federation. The release noted that internet business saw a huge uptick on the Monday after Thanksgiving, as people returned to work from a long holiday weekend with the upcoming holidays of Christmas and Hanukkah about a month away.
If you remember back to 2005, many families shared a single computer, laptops were far less common, and tablets and smartphones were virtually nonexistent. People needed to get back to work to do their serious computing-and find the time to get some online shopping in, as well.
Since then, there’s been a virtual explosion in internet shopping and Cyber Monday has grown right along with it. In 2013, online sales on Cyber Monday were more than 20% higher than they were the year before, topping $2 billion for the day, according to IBM’s Digital Analytics, which tracked about 800 different shopping websites. Meanwhile, retail store traffic over the Thanksgiving weekend fell 2.7%, based on figures from the National Retail Federation.
How to Make the Most of Cyber Monday
Clearly, consumers are buying more and more online, so if you’re not already taking full advantage of the internet for your business, it’s time to get started. Fortunately, there are things you can do before this year’s Cyber Monday on December 1.
Offer a Bargain
Shoppers scouring the web on Cyber Monday are looking for bargains. They’re fresh off the Black Friday advertising blitz and looking to score a great catch online. Give them one! Offering a couple of Cyber Monday specials is a great way to get traffic to your website. Once there, who knows what else they might buy?
What enticements can you offer? Anything from a free gift with purchase or free gift wrapping to a percentage off. Free shipping is a huge incentive, or you could even offer different promotions throughout the day! Amazon.com changes its deals several times an hour to keep people coming back. A hassle-free return policy is also a great selling point.
Advertise Your Cyber Monday Deal
It can be hard to cut through the clutter at this time of year, so you have to start early and be consistent. Nielsen data shows 60% of U.S. consumers look for coupons on social media, so use your Twitter and Facebook pages to your advantage.
If you have a particularly visual product line, branch out to Pinterest and Instagram, as well. Social media also allows brick and mortar stores without a website to benefit from Cyber Monday. With these strategies, you can just as easily draw customers into your store as you can to a website!
Email marketing is still a tremendously powerful tool, so put together some holiday-themed newsletters with your Cyber Monday incentives, and put your email list to work for you. Be sure to include a clickable link in the email to make it even easier. Start promoting early, and send reminders over the weekend and on Monday itself.
Have a Clear Proposition
Don’t make someone guess what’s in it for them; tell them right up front. Make a special Cyber Monday landing page for your website or highlight the deals on your home page. Nobody wants to work to do business with you or to figure out what specials you’re offering; there are far too many options just a click away.
Offer free shipping if you can, or at least simple, low-cost terms. Accept as many forms of payment as possible, including debit cards, all major credit cards and PayPal. The easier it is to do business with you, the more likely someone is to do so, and tell their friends about you.
Reward Current Customers
Sure, it would be great to land a whole new bunch of business this Cyber Monday, but it’s also a terrific time to get a bigger share of dollars from customers you already have. Put a special offer on your Facebook page so it shows up in the newsfeeds of folks who “like” you.
Even better, make it good enough for them to share with their friends, and you could wind up with a viral hit on your hands, increasing your exposure and the promotional value. Tweet out coupon codes with the hashtag #cybermonday to reach buyers looking for deals on Twitter.
Test Your Sales Process
Few things will turn off a potential customer more than having your website not work well. Make sure your hosting company can handle the increased traffic you might be expecting, and do some test runs to be sure your shopping cart and payment software work as they should.
If you haven’t already optimized your site so it looks good and is easy to use on a smartphone, don’t wait. Last year, mobile access made up more than a third of all Cyber Monday traffic, and it’s only going to increase this year.
Keep it going! Who says you have to stop on Monday? Most people won’t finish all their holiday shopping on Cyber Monday, so follow up the sales you’ve made with a thank-you email. Spread the benefit throughout the holiday shopping season by offering another discount as an incentive to do business with you to maximize the return on your Cyber Monday efforts.