The day after thanksgiving, a.k.a Black Friday, marks the start of the holiday shopping season but for shoppers who'd rather keep it easy there's Cyber Monday. 2010's Cyber Monday generated $1 billion in sales and Volusion social media manager, Matt Winn says it is critical for small businesses to compete with larger, well known retailers this time of year.
A red letter day for ecommerce sales, Cyber Monday was started in 2005, basing on the observation that consumers made purchases at work to avail of holiday sales and faster internet connections. Since then, there were marked increases in sales conversions on subsequent Cyber Mondays and small businesses should ensure they get a piece of the pie. With large retailers offering stiff competition, what's a small ecommerce website supposed to do?
- Determine the discounts you can offer. Customers are going to hunt for the best bargains just like on Black Friday. The more discounts you're offering the more buzz you can generate which translates to heavier traffic and more sales conversions. But be careful not to get too carried away. Lowering prices too much may be great for the top line but it can harm your bottom line in the process.
- Prepare for the influx of customers. Make sure that your website's bandwidth can handle the heavy traffic and ensure that your stock and inventory system is in perfect working order. You'd want to avoid customer issues that can harm your business long after Cyber Monday has come and gone.
- Great advertising matters. A lot. Every ecommerce website owner knows the value of good advertising and for the biggest day of the year, you have to optimize it. Here are a few tips to get you going:
· Spend time on search engine optimization as well as using social media networks to advertise.
· Send emails more frequently to enhance customer recall. Grab the customer's attention by including "Cyber Monday" and discount highlights on the subject line if possible.
· Ensure that web pages look clean and fresh. Improve loading time by compressing graphics to the minimum without compromising appearance.
· Vice president of marketing and creative director for future-ink, Jeune Ortiz, suggests a special landing page for Cyber Monday sales to minimize distractions. The first page a potential customer sees should provide personalized, relevant content. Highlight popular merchandise and use influential sites to announce Cyber Monday promotions, offers and discounts.
· Ecommerce websites should have a dedicated mobile page to maximize sales. Research indicates that mobile shopping is on the rise highlighting the need for mobile presence if you want to maximize sales.
· Lots of customers visit ecommerce sites for the first time on Cyber Monday. To maximize this opportunity, Sarah Schager, Internet marketing strategist for Vertical Measures recommends collecting email addresses to allow you to contact them for future promos and offers. She says, "Following up with customers is vital to building your brand. A one-time sale is great, but a lifelong customer is better."
Preparation is the key to maximize sales potential on Cyber Monday. Create a buzz, avoid disasters and sustain consumer interest by optimizing web presence and you'll be looking forward to really happy holidays.