How to Transform Your Site for Cyber Monday Success
Black Friday might get the most press, but e-commerce sites know the real money happens the Monday after Thanksgiving – otherwise known as the highly-anticipated Cyber Monday.
This online shopping holiday has been around since 2005 when Ellen Davis, the Senior Vice President of Research and Strategic Initiatives for the National Retail Foundation, coined the term ‘Cyber Monday’ after noticing the trends for a big spike in online traffic on that fateful Monday, right after Thanksgiving.
After the New York Times picked up the story, the term quickly went viral. Some 77% of online retailers saw their sales increase substantially even before the term was coined, but thanks to the added attention, shoppers began seeing it as an opportunity to join the masses looking for special online deals offered by e-commerce sellers who were quick to capitalize on the trend.
If you’re hoping to get in on the Cyber Monday profit yourself, you’re in good company. Consider the following:
- In 2015, 1 in 2 Americans planned to do some online shopping on Cyber Monday (Source: Fundivo)
- $128 was the average order value on Cyber Monday in 2015, compared to just $123 for Black Friday (Source: Fundivo)
- Cyber Monday hit a new record of $3.39 billion spent online in 2016, surpassing Black Friday’s revenue of $3.34 billion. (Source: Adobe Insights)
- Some of the biggest reasons consumers shop online during Cyber Monday are good deals (55%), free shipping (50%), and product availability (33%). (Source: Forbes)
That said, simply opening your virtual doors for sales isn’t enough to entice scores of customers to come and spend their hard earned dollars. In today’s competitive e-marketplace, you need a site that’s ready for Cyber Monday success. Here’s how to get started:
Analyze Your Most Popular Pages
Instead of overhauling your entire site and adding tons of new content and products you’re not sure will convert, simply analyze what your most popular pages and see what’s already working for your store.
Google Analytics is a good place to start, and should give you the insights needed to see which of your current pages are performing the best. Then, you can:
- Make sure you have plenty of inventory to fulfill orders for these best-selling products
- Update your product descriptions or related blog content
- Clean up your product photos
- Add similar products that are likely to sell well.
It’s also smart to showcase your most popular pages on your site for online shoppers to see immediately, rather than trying to move sluggish inventory off the shelves. Seeing your top products when they arrive will help engage customers and entice them to stick around and browse for more.
Be Mobile Ready
As a store owner, you’re probably working on a desktop or laptop to check your site and tweak its design. But a high percentage of your online sales are likely mobile shoppers.
In 2015, 27% of Cyber Monday online shopping revenue was generated on a mobile device and that number is predicted to rapidly increase. Nearly half of web users expect a site to load within 2 seconds, and 79% say they won’t return to the site to buy again if they have trouble with the performance of the site.
That’s why it’s important to get your ecommerce store mobile ready for Cyber Monday. Make sure you’re using a responsive design that can adapt to different platforms and devices. And although amazing product photos can help consumers convert to paid customers, you still need to make sure your site loads quickly.
To make sure your site looks spectacular on mobile, check out Google’s free mobile friendly test site.
Spread the Word Early and Often
Consumers won’t automatically assume your store is running a Cyber Monday special unless you tell them early and often. Remain top of mind by rolling out a social media campaign that showcases upcoming flash sales, shares coupon codes, and creates a buzz around your sale.
You may not have enough time to dramatically impact your SEO before the big day, but you can launch a guest blogging campaign to drive some backlinks and exposure back to your brand. For example, if your online shop sells sustainable footwear, you could write articles for relevant audiences about how sustainable products give back. This is also a good time to think about a PPC ad campaign or Facebook ads to grab shoppers’ attention and entice them to your site.
Launch Flash Sales
As mentioned above, consumers need a reason to come and visit your site during Cyber Monday; a careful strategy for standing out from your competition will help. Try launching a series of flash sales to drive interest before – and during – the shopping experience. These hourly sales can entice a frenzy of shopping and cause visitors to come back later to pounce on your next sale.
Just make sure your flash sales don’t cause shopping fatigue. A sale every hour may just distract and confuse customers who decide to wait until later to buy. But time is of the essence on Cyber Monday, and those shoppers will likely end up hopping over to someone else’s site.
To keep the excitement fresh and the overwhelm down, consider flash sales for different categories or at intervals that seem more appropriate to your audience.
Offer Live Chat Shopping Help
Shopping online doesn’t need to be a solitary experience. Installing live chat software to communicate with your shoppers can add an element of personalization to your brand, while also helping drive sales from on-the-fence shoppers. Once you’ve chosen and installed a provider’s software, set the program’s alerts to let shoppers know you’re ready and waiting to help with product selection or other questions.
Think of your live chat service as a way to play “personal shopper” on Cyber Monday by showcasing your best products and deals, while also helping customers find what they’re looking for and prompt easier sales. Live chat tools can also help you answer questions about technical difficulties, shipping, or other issues that might be keeping would-be customers from purchasing.
Target Abandoned Carts
It’s every e-commerce store owner’s nightmare – abandoned carts. You know shoppers must have been interested in the product if they added it to their carts, but for whatever reason, they never pulled the trigger. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
Instead of obsessing over your abandoned cart statistics, target those wayward buyers with ads and email messages specifically designed to get them back. Generate an automated message that reminds them their cart is empty, and consider sweetening the pot with a “limited time only” discount code to get them to pull the trigger.
As an example, check out DoggyLoot’s abandoned cart emails, which helped the brand create a sense of urgency and successfully closed more sales.
Focus on List Building
Cyber Monday isn’t just an opportunity to create a sales frenzy at your online store. It’s also the perfect time to focus on email list building. For starters, make sure to send your loyal subscribers Cyber Monday sale announcements and discount codes – perhaps offering them additional discounts if they spread the word with a referral program.
Next, entice new shoppers to sign up for your list in exchange for a limited time only Cyber Monday code. Encourage them to stay on your email list by promising ongoing promotions and product sneak peeks just for loyal subscribers. Not only will this help your Cyber Monday promotional efforts, it’ll keep your customer pipeline full of new prospective buyers after the holiday wraps up.
Bundle Your Products
To get even more leverage out of your Cyber Monday success, try bundling your products together to create appealing packages. Essentially, you group three or four like-minded products together (usually ones that people buy together anyway). Offer a small discount to purchase the bundle versus how much each individual item costs, showcasing how much customers will save with your offer.
Sephora is just one successful brand using the product bundling strategy. Their FAB Skin kit offers lip balm, face cleanser, exfoliating pads, moisturizer and makeup primer for just $52, instead of the full $110 value. Bundle your own products with sample or test items, mixed with premium products, to make your bundle cost effective and appealing at the same time.
Make it an Event
Think about Cyber Monday as an event – not just a time to sit and watch sales roll in. Head to Facebook Live to chat with your Facebook followers and show off your products, start tweeting your excitement over the big day, or Snapchat your way through the day, giving a behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on with your store.
Despite all the perks that come along with e-commerce, shoppers want to feel the same excitement that comes with scoring the best deal in-person and sharing the experience with others. Give them an excuse to show off what they scored by asking them to post a selfie with a special hashtag in exchange for a discount code for your next big sale.
Leverage the Momentum
We know that’s a lot to take in, but it’s not time to turn off your sales machine just yet.
Roll that momentum holiday shoppers are feeling into an upcoming Christmas or New Year’s sale. Send email subscribers and past purchasers regularly updates on what’s coming up next with your shop or offer up special coupon codes. You could even invite them to a Twitter party or Facebook Live event to talk about what they’re looking for in their products and shopping experience.
Ultimately, the more present and connected you stay with your shoppers, the easier it will be to turn them into repeat, loyal customers – on Cyber Monday and beyond.
What are you doing to get your site ready for Cyber Monday success? Let us know by leaving a comment below: