Carrie Bradshaw, the iconic fashionista from the hit HBO series Sex and the City, was supposed to be the savviest shopper. She had style and grace, but she couldn’t so much as conduct a simple Google search when the show ended in 2004. Fast forward to the movie that debuted in 2008 and Carrie learned to master the web and became Carrie 2.0. She would never miss an online sale again. Her fictional tale mimics the buying trends that have been on the rise since 2005. In fact, according to a study by the Nelson Global Consumer Report, an estimated 250 billion dollars will be spent buying online goods in 2013, about 200 billion more than was spent in 2004. This year the potential for online sales during Cyber Monday (December 2) is exponential, and not just because of trending numbers.
A rash of bad publicity surrounding Black Friday has shifted focus to Cyber Monday. National boycotts on conglomerates such as Walmart have been taking the internet by storm. The boycotts protest the outlets forcing their employees to work an abundance of hours before and during the Thanksgiving holiday. In a survey done by CreditDonkey.com, more people intend to shop on Cyber Monday rather than Black Friday. This is the first time that the numbers favor e-commerce rather than brick and mortar.
So how can you prepare? What can you do to optimize sales and grab the buyer’s attention?
Nab Those Mobile Buyers
The shoppers browsing on Cyber Monday won’t necessarily be on a PC or Mac. Many of them will be using their mobile phones. According to eMarketer, 25 billion dollars were spent by consumers on their mobiles in the past year. While there isn’t a ton of time to responsively redesign your entire site, you can make a few imperative improvements. The landing page should have readily accessible links and feature your most popular items. Mobile loading speed is paramount. Google search engines have been known to list faster sites closer to the top on the search result pages.
Let’s Get Technical (Not Physical) With Your IT Team
Make sure your site isn’t producing any 404s (read error messages). Conversion rates drastically drop when errors occur. Also, consider the influx your site will experience. Can it sustain the traffic? If your site employs live streaming, a ton of pictures, or a complex layout, you might want to consider a Content Delivery Network (CDN). These networks already power a large percentage of e-commerce sites and ensure site performance. If you are further worried about site overload, plan out your promotions accordingly. Stagger sales. Promote deals to groups as opposed to your entire network. This way the traffic will ebb and flow, not overload.
Get In Your Consumers’ Heads
According to a Nelson Global Consumer Report, clothing, home furnishings, computers, jewelry, and electronics are among the highest purchased items online. Using Google Trends can help you hone in further on what your customers want. Are they interested in a sale, free shipping, gift wrapping, etc? Is there a current event that your target age group is buzzing about? Use it! Then get the word out. Utilize your email marketing skills to let your valued customers know you are thinking of them this Cyber Monday.
Create, Create, Create
Let your marketing team get creative. Is there a gift giving guide you could promote? Maybe the “10 best gifts for the person who has everything” or “Gifts for the co-worker you barely know”? You could even highlight a fellow company you admire and support. In return, they can do the same for you, and you can capture both audiences. Additionally, think about your entire year. Did you receive any great coverage that you can highlight? Did your product get endorsed by a celebrity? It is also wise to reach out to local bloggers at this time. Most of them are writing about the best Cyber Monday sales.
This is a great time to reinvent. Rohit Bhargava, founder of the Influential Marketing Group, noted that last year his favorite small-to-medium-sized business Cyber Monday deal was a Virgin America and GiltCity.com partnership. The pair offered a chartered plane for 164 people. The catch. . .the cost. . . $60,000. Clearly, this was a PR ploy, but it worked. Customers visited the site to check out the promotion, but found themselves distracted by other links, and ultimately purchased more affordable deals.
Make it a Party and Get Social
Social Media lets you stay in touch with your customers all day. For example, if you are selling a product with limited availability, announce when you only have 20 left and again when you are down to your last few. Much like the end of a silent auction, momentum picks up when urgency is created.
Think about your strategy for each form of media. Twitter is great for the short and sweet. “Free shipping from now until 2pm. Get it before it’s too late.” Pinterest is visually appealing. Create boards that would interest your target customer. “The Ultimate New York City Apartment” or “Home Furnishings for the Shabby Chic.” Lastly, Facebook is a great place to post links. Try for something informative. If your site sells sports gear, post links on mastering your golf swing, flip turn, or right hook. The article should mention gear your site sells. It’s all about synergy.If you build it they will comedoes not ring true in the eCommerce world. So above all get the word out. Have more than enough hands on deck to answer questions about products, coupon codes, and sale deadlines. And when all else fails turn to the wise words of Daft Punk’s “Technologic”:
Write it, cut it, paste it, save it,
Load it, check it, quick - rewrite it,
Plug it, play it, burn it, rip it,
Drag and drop it, zip - unzip it,
Lock it, fill it, call it, find it,
View it, code it, jam - unlock it,
Surf it, scroll it, pause it, click it…
And then hope they in turn BUY IT!