If you own an e-commerce store, chances are you already know how important Cyber Monday is. In case you aren’t sure though, the stats around it make a pretty compelling case:
- 52% of people in the US shop on Cyber Monday.
- People spent over $2.68 billion on Cyber Monday in 2014.
- They spent an average of $124 per online order.
Which all adds up to Cyber Monday being the most important day of the year for online businesses. You have got to be prepped and ready when it rolls around on November 28.
Here are seven things you should start working on now to make sure you’re ready when the big day comes.
1. Check with your web host to ensure your website is prepared for extra traffic.
You don’t want your website to get overloaded on Cyber Monday, just when people are most wanting to buy from you. Most web hosting plans can handle a certain amount of traffic before you might have problems. Here’s what’s typical for HostGator’s plans:
Anytime you’re expecting a big spike in traffic, talk to your web hosting company to see if they think you have any cause for concern, or suggestions for ensuring things run smoothly.
2. Make sure you have plenty of merchandise ready to go.
Cyber Monday is not the day you want your customers faced with an “Out of Stock” message. Do your best to stock up on all the items that are typically popular – particularly any that make good gifts.
3. Optimize your merchandise for gift giving.
Sure, some people go shopping on Cyber Monday for themselves to take advantage of the deals. But a lot of your visitors will be looking for items they can wrap and present to loved ones for the holidays.
Consider how best to package the items you sell so they make good gifts. You might want to combine certain items into gift baskets or offer a good deal for buying related merchandise together.
4. Make sure you’re set up to sell gift cards.
Speaking of gifts, you do sell gift cards, right? If you don’t yet, now is a good time to start. In a 2014 survey, 62% of people said they’d like to receive a gift card for the holidays. And friends and families come through, spending over $100 billion on them each year (some of which won’t ever be claimed, which means pure profit for you).
Don’t be left out of that.Shoppers spend over $100 billion on gift cards each year. Don't let your #ecommerce store miss out! Click To Tweet
5. Offer coupons and deals.
Everyone who lands on your site on Cyber Monday is expecting deals. All of your competitors will be offering them, so you should as well. Offer something to everyone on your site that day – whether it’s discounts, free shipping, free gift wrapping, or some combination of the three.
This is also a really good opportunity to give something special to your email list and social media followers. Provide them with a special code or link that reminds them of the value of engaging with you over email and social media.
Also be sure to provide new visitors on Cyber Monday with a special offer to join your email list. A day when a lot of people are heading to your website is an optimal time to grow your email list. Make sure the sign up box is placed somewhere obvious on your website, with compelling copy around it that lets your visitors know how valuable signing up is. And push for sign ups again on your checkout page. The people who buy from you are the ones most likely to sign up.
6. Increase your marketing.
You want to drive people to your online store on Cyber Monday. That means you should be willing to increase your spending on any paid marketing you do, like PPC and social media ads. Also work to promote your Cyber Monday deals on social media, your website, and your email newsletter.
You definitely want the people that already know you to come back and check out your online store on the big day, but you should also try to get your offers and deals in front of potential customers who weren’t familiar with you yet. Work on a Cyber Monday marketing plan that emphasizes each.#CyberMonday is the most important day of the year for #onlinebusiness. Are you prepared? Click To Tweet
7. Have you been putting off important website updates? Get them done before the big day.
If you have an online business, you should already be thinking about this stuff, but if you haven’t yet, Cyber Monday’s a good excuse to get it done.
Make sure your website is user-friendly.
You want your visitors to have an easy time finding everything they need. You want to guide them toward signing up for your email list (without annoying them in the process) and make completing a purchase entirely intuitive. Make sure your website is well designed to accomplish these goals.
Do some testing. Have friends who aren’t a part of the business try your website out for you – from different devices and on different browsers. Ask them to report back on anything about the experience they found less than ideal and get to work fixing it.
Create a mobile website.
You already know you need a mobile website. Every business with an online presence must make sure people can use the website easily on their mobile phones and tablets.
If you haven’t yet created a mobile-version of your website, do it now. Over 40% of all Cyber Monday traffic in 2014 came from mobile devices. You will lose sales on Cyber Monday if people find your website hard to use on a mobile device, so don’t risk it.
You have a lot to do, but you still have some time to get it all done. Get a plan in place now to make the most of Cyber Monday this year. Your customers will be glad you did, and so will you.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.