Cyber Monday: Boost Sales On The Most Lucrative Day Of The Year
bfcm-banner

Black Friday Cyber Monday Sales: Maximize Sales On The Holidays

It’s that time of the year again! Yes, the holiday season is approaching fast and Cyber Monday is slated to be one of the busiest and most lucrative days of the year for eCommerce businesses.

Cyber Monday 2019

2018 saw a digital spend of over $14 billion during the holiday season, out of which Cyber Monday alone contributed $6 billion which is the highest over the Black Friday Weekend.

The holiday weekend this year, including Cyber Monday is predicted to see a 13%  growth in digital revenue in the US and 15% globally.  

Cyber Monday has seen the highest digital spends compared to Thanksgiving and Black Friday, consistently since 2014, and Cyber Monday is going to be no exception.

Black Friday is considered to be the biggest online shopping period of the year for the US and the UK. Black Friday Sales are already pretty well established in North America, and in the last five years, it’s surpassed the pre-Christmas shopping in the UK.

Black Friday sales aren’t a one-day deal anymore. Most retailers offer heavy discounts on Wednesday or Thursday onwards with extended store hours. Online retailers have come to realize that, shoppers don’t wait for Cyber Monday anymore, and hence try to push maximum sales during Black Friday.

So, what is Cyber Monday and what makes it so important? Let us look at the history of this eCommerce holiday.

The History of Cyber Monday

The Cyber Monday holiday was conceptualized by National Retail Foundation and coined by Ellen Davis, the President of NRF in 2005.

Published in a press release by NRF titled “Cyber Monday quickly becoming one of the biggest online shopping days of the year” which was based on the findings of a study conducted in 2004.

Cyber Monday marks the 14th anniversary of the holiday. It falls anywhere between November 26 to December 2, depending on Thanksgiving.

The term was coined after observing that the Monday after Thanksgiving saw “one of the biggest online shopping days of the year”.

Shoppers returning fresh from a Thanksgiving holiday and with easy access to high-speed internet (as against slow connections at home) chose to buy what they liked on Monday.

Cyber Monday, thus publicized, saw a 26% increase in online sales in 2005 and continues to grow ever since. 2010 saw the sales cross $1 billion for the first time.

Although the roots of the holiday lie in the US, companies across the globe jumped on the trend of creating campaigns for Cyber Monday and attracting customers with exceptional discounts and deals.

Cyber Monday falls on December 2 and with the possibility of earning an obscene amount of money, it is only common sense for retailers to look at maximizing sales during the most lucrative season of the year.

Preparing For Cyber Monday 

Before you think of marketing campaigns to attract customers to your eCommerce website, be sure that you have prepared your website to handle the large influx of traffic.

You should consider factors such as site speed, mobile compatibility and ensure that your website doesn’t face any downtime during this period – in all ensure a great customer experience on your eCommerce website.

You can also create an attractive landing page that is specifically designed to entice people to purchase certain products.

Search your .Store domain now!

Search for your business name or category. cookies.store or summercookies.store

What’s more, you can brand it with a short, easy to communicate domain name – something relevant and meaningful like cybersale.store would be great!

Efforts to prepare for this holiday weekend should ideally begin well in advance (as early as summer) considering the volume of sales your eCommerce business may see during this time.

We have compiled and listed a few ideas that have worked in the past so you can make the most of Cyber Monday.

1. Spread The Hype

All your communication in the weeks preceding Cyber Monday should majorly talk about the upcoming sale on Cyber Monday!

The craze for Cyber Monday should rub off on your followers and customers and should prompt them to get excited to shop for the holiday season.

If you have offered deals and discounts for Cyber Monday earlier, remind your customers by using your email marketing skills.

Remind them of the crazy deals they had availed in the previous year and inform them of more such deals coming up for Cyber Monday.

Create a sense of urgency around the deals that you offer by creating a countdown and placing a timer as seen here: 

Cyber Monday 2019

2. Offer Exclusive Discounts

Create and offer exclusive discounts and deals to your customers specific to Cyber Monday.

Plan your discount and pricing strategy such that it encourages your customers to buy more products at a collectively lower price instead of purchasing them individually.

You may choose to offer free gifts for purchases made over a certain amount or a higher discount rate if the total purchase exceeds a specific amount.

You can also create special discount codes for the day which will also help you track and analyze shopping trends.

3. Offer Pre-Orders

Use contact details of your previous, existing and prospective customers to create a targeted pre-order strategy for Cyber Monday.

Pre-order is when you list a product on your website that hasn’t been manufactured yet and will be launched at a later date, in this case on Cyber Monday.

A pre-order allows customers to pay for the product in full or part in order to book it before it becomes available to the public at large and goes out of stock.

Offering pre-order on your products to customers that have engaged with you before will give them a sense of special treatment and generate buzz around the product as well as your website.

4. Promote Cross-selling

eCommerce Cross-Selling is one of the most effective ways of increasing sales and Cyber weekend is no exception.

Before you start prepping for Cyber Monday, extract data and utilize reports about your eCommerce sales to figure out the most popular products on your website, as well as the most frequent combinations of products purchased together.

This will help you in making helpful suggestions to your buyers as well as boost sales on your eCommerce website.

Your marketing efforts in the days leading up to Cyber Monday can then be focused on what is popularly chosen by customers and once a customer chooses that product, you can automatically add the relevant recommendation.

Product bundling is another great way of increasing sales and offering discounts to your customers.

5. Offer Free Shipping

Free shipping is a sure-fire way to increase online sales, especially when competing with physical stores.

Offering free shipping adds a ‘feel-good’ factor to customers since they can shop from the comfort of their home without having to spend any money on actually traveling to buy the product or vice-versa.

Search your .Store domain now!

Search for your business name or category. cookies.store or summercookies.store

Additionally, it gives customers a sense of saving money and getting the most out of the deal offered on a product.

Free shipping also reduces the chances of shopping cart abandonment.

6. Optimize For Mobile

According to Salesforce, mobile shopping during Cyber Week 2018 hovered around 70%  irrespective of the day of the week.

This clearly establishes mobile as the preferred medium for shoppers to make their holiday purchases and shop on the go.  

It becomes critical, therefore, to ensure your eCommerce website is optimized for browsing as well as to handle the surge in orders during the holiday season.

One effective way of doing this is to design your eCommerce website in a way that doesn’t deviate users from the ‘Thumb zone’ – which refers to the area on the mobile screen most commonly used by a user.

7. Create A Holistic Marketing Campaign

Consider Cyber Monday as a festival and make all your marketing touch-points look like it.

Create a campaign that will reflect that across all mediums of communication used by your eCommerce website and create targeted campaigns around Cyber Monday.

One way of promoting Cyber Monday sales is to create a philanthropic campaign around the holidays, offering a humanitarian approach to the purchases made by customers.

Gen-Z is increasingly conscious of the effects of human activity on the environment, and your marketing strategy and campaign should address this.

Another way to this is by offering eco-friendly options for purchase and packaging, and a more defined way is by contributing part of your online sales to a philanthropic campaign.

History Of Black Friday

The fourth Thursday of November is Thanksgiving Day in the US. A Friday was sandwiched between that and the weekend. In around 1950s people started calling in sick to take an extra day and make it a 4-day long weekend and shop for Christmas. Gradually, businesses started declaring that Friday as a holiday too, which made it the most favorable day for people to shop.

In Philadelphia too, there used to be a famous tradition of the Army-Navy football game on the following Saturday. As a result, the town was flooded with tourists because of both Thanksgiving and the game. That also led to high-intensity shopping on Friday.

The Philadelphia Police Department started terming it as “Black Friday” because of the chaos, unmanageable crowd and traffic.

Why Is Black Friday A Big Deal For Businesses?

By 2003, Black Friday was considered to be the ‘busiest shopping day’ of the year in the United States.

In 2018, Black Friday was the most popular shopping day of the whole Thanksgiving Weekend (Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday) which led to 14.8 million online sales.

In fact, the online revenue increased from $1.97 billion in 2016 to $2.36 billion in 2017 from Black Friday Sales.

The combined sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2016 was $3.45 billion, which set a historical Ecommerce record.

Hence, this is the perfect opportunity for businesses, both big and small to boost their sales and revenue.

How To Get Your Website Ready For Black Friday Sales 

The biggest challenge faced by online sellers on Black Friday is the poor performance of their websites because of the colossal online traffic. The below-mentioned tips might help you tackle that problem:

  • Plan Ahead – Shoppers might start searching for Black Friday even before the day. And you should keep your site ready for the same. An intuitive user interface, a smooth checkout experience with multiple payment options and a high level of mobile responsiveness are a few things that could come in handy. You should also have an efficient customer service option ready for support.
  • Site Speed – Online shoppers don’t have the patience to wait for a slow site to open up. If the site takes more than 3 seconds to open up, they tend to move to another site. You can use online tools to make sure your site loads quickly.
  • Keep It Up – Downtime is a big no-no. Make sure the server load capacity is intact.

10 Black Friday Marketing Tips

1. Plan Beforehand  

As mentioned earlier, shoppers aren’t going to wait for Black Friday to arrive to search for sales and buying options. Get your website and store ready beforehand, keep your stock ready, plan your marketing strategy well in advance, float newsletters, deals and offers before the sales start to keep your customers glued to your site during the sales.

2. Apply Smart Retargeting Strategies

There might be customers who add your products to the cart but don’t end up buying them. Use effective retargeting strategies and ads to show them those ads even when they’re not shopping, so that they end up reaching your site and purchasing those products.

3. Collaborate With Gift Guides

Collaborate with influencers or retailers to curate gift guides that inspire consumer holiday shopping. Doing that will keep you at the top of the customer’s minds.

Focus on quality more than quantity, find and pitch to targeted guides where the popular products fit in, communicate to gift guide editors about the value of including your business, for using gift guides to boost the holiday sales.

 

Search your .Store domain now!

Search for your business name or category. cookies.store or summercookies.store

 

4. Leverage Limited-Time Windows

With the help of lightning deals, temporary sales and countdowns, it’s a good idea to create a sense of urgency in the customers’ minds. With the realization that the deal that they’re getting isn’t going to last long, they tend to buy sooner. Else they will keep looking for cheaper options for longer periods.

5. Track Your Success

Use eCommerce tools for insights and analytics of your site. Identify good and bad performance areas. Compare them to the previous year’s performance. Analyze, which products are most popular, where is your maximum visitor traffic coming from, and tweak your site to suit those.

6. Invest In An Email Strategy

Having an email marketing strategy in place is critical to your holiday sales strategy. Start sending emails to customers and prospects informing them about your attractive offers well in advance.

Keep your subject lines unique yet informative. Float last-minute reminder emails to make sure the customer end-up buying from your site.

7. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

Different customer groups have different buying behaviors and relate to sales differently. Research your customers well, define the different customer groups, and send customized and tailored emails to each customer group.

Personalized emails and messages attract more customers and lead to a higher number of sales.

8. Offer Premium User Experience

Keep the user experience as simple as possible. If the buying experience is stressful, users would end up moving to other sites where they can shop hassle-free.

In the first stage, you can mention only the useful production information, and reveal more when they are exploring it more. For instance, you should avoid asking for a compulsory login at the very first step.

You can instead offer people the chance to checkout as a guest user. Or, once the consumer is interested in a product and is proceeding to buy it, login can be introduced. The idea is to make the shopping experience simple and seamless.

9. Target Regular Customers

Black Friday sales are a great time for you to establish relations with your former clients and get them to return to your store. You can reward them with earlier access to sales, privilege them with exceptional offers, personalize offers for them based on their previous shopping with you. These tactics will help to retain your customers and maximize sales.

10. Look Beyond Black Friday

Black Friday is just one day of the whole holiday shopping weekend. But Black Friday sales start from Thanksgiving Thursday going up to Cyber Monday.

Plan your offers for the whole weekend so that customers who weren’t able to buy on Black Friday, can complete their shopping over the weekend.

This means you should have an efficient engagement plan to get idle window shoppers into long-term customers.

How To Improve Order Fulfillment During The Most Lucrative Days Of The Year

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaching, there is an increased level of demand for delivering holiday orders in a timely and cost-effective manner.

You’ve analyzed demand, determining inventory, optimized your product listing, and even planned promotions. However, order fulfillment is a critical factor, which could make or break a successful season of your holiday sales.

Why Does Holiday Order Fulfillment Matter?

When it comes to holiday sales, every online merchant faces a lot of challenges in terms of order fulfillment.

They need to figure out how to manage increased inventory, labor costs, freight, payment processing, logistics, and most importantly, the increased pressures of delivering as per customer expectations for low cost/free shipping.

There needs to be an effective fulfillment strategy in place beforehand to streamline holiday operations and simplify the workload to boost holiday sales without compromising on customer satisfaction.

An amazing website, a strong social media presence, smart email marketing, and other creative means to reach out to your customers are all well and good but not enough.

You also need efficient back-end logistics to leave a long-lasting impression on your customers’ minds and make the holiday season super successful.

You need to align every area of your business, especially between supply chain leaders and the marketing team in order to better handle your delivery management process.

Receiving a lot of orders is a great thing, but if you run out of stock, are unable to ship packages out in time, or even fail to deliver gifts to recipients in time, there’s a huge risk of losing your customers and damaging your reputation.

Order fulfillment in such cases could be challenging. Below are a few ways to help you prepare a successful holiday order fulfillment strategy.

Inventory Management

1. Stocking Up

Maintaining the perfect stock is a tricky thing to do. Too much inventory brings high warehousing fees and stockouts lead to dissatisfied customers and lower revenue.

The tips below will help to manage your inventory:

  • Analyze previous holidays sales data to predict sales this year
  • Determine the number of days of inventory until you expect to run out of it
  • Identify common shipping destinations according to the majority of customers’ residences to minimize inventory costs
  • Use inventory management software or inventory forecasting tools to analyze historical inventory and sales data
  • Diminish excess stock with the help of stock clearance sales
  • Communicate about spikes in demand to your third party logistics provider for them to efficiently plan the delivery and support your business

2. Track Inventory Levels Accurately

Even with the best inventory planning tools, forecasts can go wrong and the unexpected can occur.

For instance, your product could receive an organic celebrity endorsement, get featured in a few major gift guides, or become the must-have gift for a particular age group.

You need to continuously review inventory turnover, daily order performance, stock counts with timely data.

  • Examine the root cause for inaccurate estimates and readjust forecasts for the future
  • Reorder inventory if sales exceed projections
  • Increase promotions if sales are behind projections
  • Keep a track of stock on all your stores and fulfillment centers, and transfer inventory from your backup warehouse if required
  • If any orders are getting help up, prioritize the replenishment of such products

 

Search your .Store domain now!

Search for your business name or category. cookies.store or summercookies.store

 

Fast Order Fulfillment

After your inventory is ready, it’s time for you to fulfill your customer’s orders. However, holiday sales make the process of order fulfillment much more complex than usual.

1. Considering Outsourcing

If you handle the order fulfillment on your own, you might face an unusual demand during holiday sales which would be impossible for you to manage.

Even if you hire temporary staff for this phase, it wouldn’t be feasible to keep them post the holiday season. The best way to tackle this is by outsourcing to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider during holiday sales.

Considerations for Finding a 3PL:

  • Having multiple order fulfillment centers to store inventory near customers
  • Partnering with a 3PL that delivers on your customer expectations
  • Having advanced analytics and inventory management tools
  • Hiring a dedicated account manager and the support you need

2. Choose The Right Shipping Options

It’s challenging to compete with online retail giants in terms of shipping speed. Below are a few ideas to consider:

  • Distribute inventory across all order fulfillment centers to save time and money and try to ship from the center closest to your customer
  • Experiment with free shipping offers by using minimum spend thresholds to increase average order value
  • Leverage ground shipping, which costs much lesser than air shipping
  • Upgrade shipping if required

Handling Returns During Holiday Sales

As soon as you start to relax after a busy phase of holiday sales, you might start getting returns piling up.

Customers not wanting their gifts, items that don’t fit, products damaged in transit, and even other cases lead can to returns from customers.

And because the volume of sales is higher during the holiday sales, so is the volume of returns.

1. Be Prepared

Returns of products are inevitable, especially if your return policy allows for it. Firstly, you need to make a provision for the expected volume of returns based on the data from the previous year’s sales.

Accordingly, you need to create a process that can handle all the returns in the coming season. Communicate your return process clearly across your website.

Aim to automate your returns process quickly and cost-effectively. Provide your customers with a shipping label and tracking information once their return has been shipped.

2. Monitor Returns

Monitor your returns, what kind of customers are mostly returning the products, or which category of your product is getting returned.

You should get feedback from the returning customers, as to why did they choose to return your product and implement those in the future, to minimize returns.

 

Search your .Store domain now!

Search for your business name or category. cookies.store or summercookies.store

 

You can encourage your customers to purchase something else by offering them special discounts to retain them and maintain brand loyalty.

You can also monitor your return rates and revisit your return policy to determine if you need to make customers responsible for the return shipping costs.

Shoppers who bought most during a sale or free shipping promotion are usually the ones who tend to return the most. Determine how that is impacting your margins.

Preparing Your Online Store For The Holiday Sales

1. Speed and Server Tests

During the shopping season, a lot of people will visit and browse your website to search for products. Because of the huge online traffic, your site will be at risk of slowing down or even crashing during the peak shopping season.

Your online shoppers may even tend to leave your website if it doesn’t open within 3 seconds. It’s highly important to keep your website ready for such online traffic.

Regular load testing can prepare you for the busy season. It can determine the reason for the slowdown or crash for you to fix. You can use the following online tools to check for website speed:

  • Pingdom
  • GTmetrix
  • Google – PageSpeed Insight
  • Web Page Test
  • YSlow

2. Optimize Checkout

One of the most inevitable challenges faced by online sellers is that even though online shoppers add your products to the cart, they abandon them without making the purchase.

You can optimize your checkout and order fulfillment in the below ways:

  • Reduce the number of steps required for checkout
  • Make your website and checkout compatible with phones, as most online shoppers purchase from their phones
  • Provide all necessary specifications for buyers to feel confident
  • Provide free or low-cost quick shipping
  • Use retargeting ads to redirect buyers from their social media back to your site to complete their purchases

3. Aligning Promotions and Sales

You can align your brand with holiday dates like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, and so on, based on the nature of your products.

Use the below tips for maximizing holiday conversions:

  • Highlight holiday sales and promotions in banners on your site
  • Create a gift guide
  • Add countdowns for sales dates
  • Display the remaining number of units of inventory to create urgency
  • Incorporate holiday-centric content with product photography and blog posts

How To Customize Your Holiday Packaging

The holiday season is a special time of the year, and so customers expect the same from your packaging. During the season, it’s not just about promoting your products and making your potential customers buy them.

It’s about how you manage to surprise them and make them feel special about your products.

While you can always work out which products to sell this holiday season, browse through the following ways to customize your holiday packaging and give your holiday sales that extra boost.

1. Handwritten Notes

Handwritten notes add value at any time of the year, but if properly done during the festive season, it’s like a cherry on the top. For instance, we all love a handwritten birthday card more than a ready-made one from our friends.

Similarly, adding a personal touch during the festive season could take you a long way. Customers feel valued when they realize that you have put in an extra effort for them during such a busy season.

Big businesses can’t afford to include hand-written notes to all their customers during holiday sales, and this is the opportunity for smaller ones to trump the online giants.

2. Custom Tissue Paper

Not only are custom tissue papers a creative way to package your products, but they are also versatile and multi-purpose. You can use them as wrapping papers for products, line the inside of boxes, or even as gifts with purchases for your customers’ own wrapping duties.

It’s light in weight and can be used to wrap different-shaped products, and because of its large surface area, it also allows you to print complex designs.

3. Holiday Theme Packing Tape

Boxes are usually simple and boring. They come in a lot of different sizes for different products, and to make them look interesting you might have to invest a huge amount for customizing them for holiday sales.

It usually is not a feasible option for businesses. However, what you can do to tackle that without spending so much is to design a holiday-themed tape creatively. It’s a simple yet effective way to liven up your plain boxes or mailers.

4. Custom Stickers

If you prefer a traditional holiday-themed design for your gift boxes or wrapping papers during holiday sales, customized stickers can come really handy as branding elements.

Stickers allow you to showcase your brand name or logo at the front and center while maintaining the festival vibe.

Apart from just decorating your packages with them, you can even give stickers away as freebies to customers. It acts as a recall factor for your brand amongst the customers and increases brand loyalty.

5. Die-Cut Inserts

Die-cut inserts are a great way to make your products look visually appealing, especially if you have chosen a rather plain design for your packaging.

It’s an innovative way to add holiday imagery and make your products more relatable during the holiday season. Symbols such as stars, trees, and snowflakes are examples of good inserts as they can be easily recognizable in their silhouette versions too.

Tips For Your Holiday Packaging Design

1. Less is More

It’s really tempting to go overboard during the festive season but the cost of additional custom elements quickly adds up. Even courier charges could get expensive as they are based on the size and weight of the package.

It will also create a negative impact on your brand recognition as your customers won’t know where to focus their attention. More materials lead to customers having to dispose of more packaging waste, which is again a no-no.

You can create a memorable unboxing experience for your customers making sure it’s economical and just about right in terms of packaging materials.

Mailers instead of boxes will help you reduce your shipping costs. Pairing it with a seasonal gift wrap will maintain the element of surprise without the traditional box.

2. Keep Your Branding Intact

A majority of customers are willing to experiment during the holiday sales. To make sure that they remain your customers round the year, it’s highly important that you build your brand recognition.

Keeping generic imagery in your packaging for the festive mood is good but unless your packaging has something unique to imprint on your customers’ minds, they wouldn’t remember your brand the next time they shop online.

3. Reuse and Recycle

Today, consumers all around the world are getting more environmentally conscious. Not only do they want to reduce waste, but they also prefer using products that are comparatively more environment-friendly.

You can consider using paper and cardboard instead of plastic. Even where it’s necessary for you to use plastic considering the nature of your product. Try to use recycled materials for your packaging.

Focus on the correct sizes of your containers so as to reduce waste. For packaging elements like ribbon or tissue paper, which aren’t usually considered reusable, you can enclose a packaging insert requesting customers to save them for future gift wrapping needs.

4. Social Media Sharing

A brilliant seasonal marketing technique is to encourage customers to share images of their parcels on social media. Instagram marketing is a great way to use visuals to engage with your customers and have them engage with your brand.

You can incentivize this activity by running giveaways to customers who post about your products they bought on their social media handles. You can use social media shares to give your holiday sales a much-needed boost.

You can even come up with unique Instagram hashtags for your special holiday packaging, that will help you to stand out. And when people post the pictures with your defined hashtags, it could boost your sales even more.

5. Research Packaging Suppliers

When you decide who to choose for sourcing your packaging, don’t just consider the costs involved. There are other important factors as well like, Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ), turnaround times, and the sustainability of their designs.

Set your budget and research the available supplier options well with the above constraints and then make the best choice for your business.

Final Thoughts

Cyber Monday has consistently seen a rise in sales ever since the concept was first coined, and Cyber Monday will be pretty massive too.

This is the shopping fiesta online shoppers look forward to for the entire year, so gear up for Cyber Monday and make sure that you make the most out of this holiday weekend!

Holiday season sales can be a very stressful time for eCommerce merchants. You can either make it big during the season or even fail miserably.

There are a lot of challenges you face during that time and you need to be able to tackle those to be able to generate maximum returns. Along with a lot of planning, precision, execution, you also need a small amount of luck.

Online sales tend to break records every holiday season, and you need to be prepared well for it. Plan and monitor every area, to maximize holiday traffic.

You need to start preparing for your holiday sales way before it arrives and align your departments well with your supply chain. Pre-planned processes will lead your business to successfully fulfill orders.

Tie up with 3PL so that they can take care of your fulfillment efficiently, and you can concentrate on reaping the benefits of holiday sales.

Following all the above steps will help you achieve an effective order fulfillment process during holiday sales.

Search your .Store domain now!

Search for your business name or category. cookies.store or summercookies.store

bfcm-banner

Recommended Reads

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *