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On the Monday after Thanksgiving, millions of shoppers will purchase holiday gifts from the cozy confines of their homes instead of venturing out to crowded malls and stores. They will use their computers, tablets, and smartphones to find deals, input their payment and shipping information, and complete their transactions. Of course, we are talking about Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year.
Cyber Monday is a significant sales day for big-box retailers and e-Commerce websites. However, it is also an excellent opportunity for small businesses like yours to take advantage of a well-known and highly advertised online shopping event. This Balboa Capital blog post explains how to prepare your small business for Cyber Monday.
What is Cyber Monday?
This history of Cyber Monday dates back to 2005 when the National Retail Federation (NRF) used the phrase to describe the immense volume of online spending occurring the Monday after Thanksgiving. High-speed Internet connections were becoming the norm, online shopping was becoming more popular, and online merchants were generating robust revenues. As a result, Cyber Monday was born and quickly became a popular holiday shopping event, right up there with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday®.
Cyber Monday spending has grown year on year since 2005. This results from the popularity of online shopping and businesses utilizing e-commerce technology to provide a quick and seamless online shopping experience. In addition, large companies and small businesses deploy Cyber Monday advertising campaigns, further boosting awareness of the annual event. There is also quite a bit of news coverage on television and online in the days and weeks leading up to Cyber Monday and on the shopping day itself.
A big day for small businesses.
Cyber Monday is the online equivalent of Black Friday and has become an annual tradition. It is a day when people go online to buy gifts and other holiday items at discounted prices. And the numbers are impressive. According to Forbes, $11.3 billion was spent on Cyber Monday in 2022¹, confirming this shopping day’s importance to business owners and shoppers.
If your brick-and-mortar business sells products online or if you run an online business, Cyber Monday is an ideal time to boost your sales. Some ideas include offering products to shoppers at a discounted price or special offers such as free shipping, buy-one-get-one (BOGO) offers, or value-packed bundled purchases.
Plan your promotions early.
You must plan to ensure that your Cyber Monday sale is a success. It can become overwhelming and stressful for you and your employees without proper preparation. Start by determining the types of promotions you want and for which products. In the previous section of this blog, we mentioned a few ideas to consider. Shoppers look for deals, so it is vital that you offer them. If you don’t, visitors to your website may not buy anything.
Your year-over-year (YOY) sales data can give you an idea of what sells most during the year’s final quarter. For example, if you have products that move quickly during the holidays, it might make sense to sell them at a discount. Doing so can help you pull in new and existing customers who want a good deal and might buy other products, too.
Make sure you have enough inventory.
Advertising a Cyber Monday sale for inventory that is not readily available to ship is a recipe for disaster. Your customers expect the items listed on your website to be in stock. If not, you risk losing them to another business, perhaps one of your competitors. You can prevent this by contacting your vendors and suppliers and ordering more of your best-selling products and seasonal items.
The sooner you stock up, the sooner you can finalize your Cyber Monday advertising efforts. Remember that holiday shopping will continue through late December, so buy enough inventory to last beyond Cyber Monday and meet customer demand.
Update your company’s website.
You probably know how important it is to make periodic updates to your company’s website. Regularly adding new landing pages and blog posts help keep your site fresh and help with search engine optimization (SEO). The need for website updates shifts into overdrive for Cyber Monday. You must add messaging that communicates your Cyber Monday promotions and change the prices of the items on sale.
If you promote online coupons, check to ensure they add the applicable discount to the shopping cart. Lastly, confirm with your website designer/programmer and hosting provider that your site is prepared to handle the additional influx of traffic.
Get the word out.
Once you have finalized your Cyber Monday sales goals and strategy and stocked up on inventory, it is time to get the word out. You can do this by posting your Cyber Monday deals on the social networks that your business uses. A good rule of thumb is to use attention-getting images, graphics, and relevant hashtags.
Another strategy is to send a Cyber Monday promotional email to those who have signed up to receive your business’s email newsletters. Your email should feature information about your deals, including applicable discounts and a link to your website. Of course, always follow CAN-SPAM laws by allowing email recipients to opt-out of receiving future emails.
Ship products to customers promptly.
The last order of business should be a no-brainer, but business owners sometimes overlook it: shipping products to customers promptly. As you know, buying quality products online at a discounted price makes people happy. And their happiness increases when the packages arrive on time.
So, meet with your employees and establish a shipping game plan for Cyber Monday. You will need to stock up on shipping supplies (boxes, bubble wrap, shipping tape, etc.) and mailing labels. Set realistic expectations for your customers regarding shipping dates, and stick to the timeline.
Balboa Capital, a Division of Ameris Bank, is not affiliated with nor endorses Fit Small Business, the National Retail Federation, Cyber Monday, or Black Friday. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.