As retailers enter the 2020 holiday season, questions remain about how shoppers will approach Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.
As in previous years, online shoppers search for top Cyber Monday deals and want a flawless shopping experience. Small businesses that optimize promotions and websites for virtual shopping have an advantage over less digital-savvy competitors. Ensure your holiday sales exceed expectations by using these tips.
Overview: What is Cyber Monday?
In 2005, retailers created Cyber Monday to boost digital purchases and continue the blowout deals beyond Black Friday. The online shopping holiday earned in sales in 2005 then rapidly climbed to $9.4 billion in 2019.
Although 2020's year-over-year Cyber Monday growth may be less than previous years, the ongoing pandemic will bolster online sales in the days before and following November 30.
Regardless if you own an e-commerce site or brick-and-mortar storefront, optimizing your virtual marketing campaigns is critical to a successful Cyber Week.
How to prepare your business for Cyber Monday
Deliver the best deals and make a lasting impression by preparing your website, staff, and storefront for an influx of new online visitors. Prep your e-commerce platforms for digital sales using these tips.
1. Test your technology
Your website's performance is crucial to customer experience all year long. However, a surge of traffic can put a particular strain on your site. Take these steps to check your shopping channels:
- Assess your available bandwidth by speaking with your tech team or hosting service.
- Test page speeds on your website, including new Cyber Monday pages.
- View your site's product and promotion pages on various devices to ensure mobile responsiveness.
- Create a backup of your website and Cyber Monday pages to reduce downtime if you have technical troubles.
- Have an IT consultant or team member on call to address any issues as they arise.
2. Display your shipping options and policies
This year, 89% of shoppers "are willing to give retailers extra time to deliver packages," according to , a delivery experience management company. However, consumers expect free shipping and full transparency.
Furthermore, people who traditionally shop in-store may be wary of long shipping times or ask more questions than typical online shoppers. Ease their concerns by:
- updating your shipping information to reflect current timelines
- displaying the estimated delivery date (EDD) in shopping carts
- offering order status and order tracking features
- using a chatbot to answer shipping questions
- giving options for in-store or curbside pickup
3. Go over the checkout experience
You already understand the importance of an easy checkout. But take the journey for yourself, and make sure it's easy to edit orders on all devices and consumers can buy your products as a guest.
Consider offering alternative payment methods such as PayPal and using a live chat service during Cyber Week.
4. Optimize your Cyber Monday site for search intent
Shoppers use search engines to find retailer promotions or product-specific sales. For example, consumers hunt for phrases like "gaming computer Cyber Monday," "Cyber Monday deals 2020," or "Apple watch Cyber Monday."
Increase your reach by performing search engine optimization (SEO) tactics on your website, product listings, and Cyber Monday landing pages.
- Build your page early: Design your Cyber Monday web pages early so search engines can crawl and index your website.
- Add internal links: Interlink your top web pages, for instance, your homepage to your Cyber Monday assets for extra visibility.
- Use the same web page yearly: Older pages have more SEO juice, so Google suggests not including the year in your URL.
- Request your page be recrawled: Once you've updated your site pages, ask Google to recrawl your site to increase visibility before the big day.
- Optimize metadata: Add alternative text, image titles, and file names with your Cyber Monday keywords.
- Answer questions: Look at the People also ask (PAA) queries on the Google search page and answer these questions in your content before Cyber Monday.
5. Develop a plan for social media customer service
With huge traffic expected, problems may occur. Although you'll do everything possible to prevent issues, it's best to prepare for anything. And the best way to do this is by assigning an extra team member to stay on top of social media.
Use social listening tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to catch mentions or posts about your business, so your teams can step in and respond. Also, be prepared to answer any questions via Facebook Messenger or other social messaging services.
People may even try to send orders through Messenger so have a plan for this and make the process as smooth as possible.
6. Invest in local marketing actions
As the pandemic continues, many people are trying to shop locally, even if that means shopping online and getting curbside pickup. Drive local shoppers to your online marketplace by:
- developing location-specific landing pages
- optimizing channels for local SEO
- working with local influencers and media outlets
- getting involved with community promotions
- using location tags on Instagram or Facebook
7. Ramp up your content marketing
People may need more help than in previous years as many shop for items online that they traditionally purchased at a brick-and-mortar store. Plus, consumers are decision fatigued, and honestly, they're just exhausted.
Give shoppers what they need to feel comfortable making online purchases while showcasing value and transparency.
Boost excitement using content such as:
- Smart buying guide: Showcase new or unique products with clear images, links to video demonstrations, and enough technical specs to make a decision.
- Comparison blueprint: People are searching for the best deals this year, and every year, so offer a comparison showing why your products deliver the best value.
- Curated gift ideas: Aim for content that helps people buy gifts for specific demographics, like the 10 best gifts for dog lovers or the top five presents for remote workers.
- Videos: Amp up your video game by sharing 360-degree views of your product in videos created at the optimum lengths for different platforms. Include them on your product pages.
- Images: Scour your reviews and social feeds for user-generated content (UGC) and request permission to use it leading up to and during your Cyber Monday promotions.
8. Develop a Cyber Monday sales funnel
Your gift guide is a great way to invite new people into your Cyber Monday sales funnel, and it's also attractive to previous customers.
Warm up your audience by creating a conversion funnel that will build interest early and add a sense of urgency while encouraging repeat purchases.
Use e-commerce marketing tactics such as taking your Cyber Monday promotions live on Facebook or Instagram to highlight low inventory items or limited-time deals.
9. Deliver a VIP experience on Cyber Monday
People want to feel special, and they want a personalized experience. Reach out to existing customers with custom deals based on previous purchases. Use your loyalty program, email marketing, and text messaging campaigns to offer:
- express check out
- early access or exclusive offers
- priority shipping
- sneak peeks at Cyber Monday ads
10. Offer multichannel shopping experiences
Showcase your small business during Cyber Monday
Kick off the holiday season by giving your customers what they want and need for seamless online experiences. Start early, reach out often, and devise a Cyber Monday campaign that delivers value and shopping inspiration.