Black Friday and its online counterpart Cyber Monday are viewed as a key time to offer deals on products that will drive sales as customers rush to buy their Christmas presents or gifts to themselves for discounted rates. 2021 especially is forecasted to be a huge year for Cyber Monday, since the global pandemic of Covid-19 changed the world in 2020 and 2021, which drastically changed the way people shop, now placing more emphasis on digital sales. From an e-commerce perspective, Cyber Monday could be a prime source of revenue for your business this year that will keep you afloat in the months afterwards.
Black Friday falls on November 26 this year, but businesses who expand their sales into the whole weekend will experience more success. Top industry leaders have shared their tips on how your e-commerce shop can maximize Cyber Monday this year. Keep reading to learn what recommendations you should be following in preparation for the big event.
The History of Cyber Monday
Executive Director and CEO of the Safe Homes Coalition Scott Silverman was one of the influential figures who first coined the term Cyber Monday to describe the Monday following Black Friday weekend. Because of his addition, Cyber Monday has become one of the biggest–if not THE biggest–e-commerce events of the year. It all started when he and fellow Shop.org workers noticed the popularity of the day.
“We saw a trend that customers were seeing a surge in shopping the Monday after Thanksgiving. We were hearing this from the retailers as well. The data was there, with a strong indication that there was a pattern, so we decided to give it a name. We had no idea that ‘Cyber Monday’ would be picked up by the media as much as it was. We sent the release out about a week before Cyber Monday, and The Wall Street Journal did an article on it. From there, it really snowballed,” says Scott Silverman.
Now the day is a monumental opportunity to drive sales and promote your online business.
Cyber Monday is tailored to suit the needs of the customers, who anticipate the big event all year. Your business needs to make known the offerings you’re providing this Cyber Monday.
“Inform your audience well in advance of the actual Cyber Monday weekend because although North Americans expect the holiday to be blown up online, they also need to know what types of offers your business can provide,” says Daniel Patrick, Founder of the self-named DANIEL PATRICK INC. “Social media is the perfect platform to start spreading the news of your Cyber Monday promotions and getting your audience excited to shop. In the weeks leading up to Black Friday weekend you should be highlighting products on your business’s social media pages because if people don’t know exactly what they want to purchase from you on Cyber Monday they’ll merely be browsing, which doesn’t always lead to conversions.”
Advanced marketing outreach is stressed to be extremely important because the sheer massive amount of deals can seem overwhelming for shoppers who want to map out their day. In 2021, people might be choosing to shop in-store for Black Friday or solely online for Cyber Monday, but most likely they will be completing a mix of in-person and online purchasing this year.
“The popularity of Cyber Monday can actually bring detriment to your business if you don’t advertise correctly because yes, consumers expect every business to offer Cyber Monday sales and deals. But just as you would prioritize which stores you want to visit during Black Friday because you can’t stop everywhere, customers won’t want to shop around on every website to scour the internet for deals. You need to tell your audience what you’ll be offering for Cyber Monday and convince them to add your website to their Cyber Monday visitation list,” says Nicholas Vasiliou, CEO of BioHealth.
Covid-19 has changed the shape of the world in the last two years, which includes the way people shop, since comfort levels to enter public locations such as stores and handle high-touch products vary, even with the widespread availability of the vaccine.
“Be specially attuned to the way people feel about gathering in-person right now and incorporate it into your marketing strategy. You can target all the shoppers who feel hesitant about interacting with such a vast amount of people this Black Friday and tailor your marketing to them. Now is a great opportunity to truly focus your marketing of Cyber Monday deals on those who are not ready or capable of shopping in-person,” says Jeremy Goldstein, CEO of Navitar, Inc.
The options for customer outreach are extensive due to the ease of digital communication. Some proven strategies for marketing include email, text lists, social media posts, and television and radio ads. But the marketing schedule needs to begin early in order to adequately prepare people for the big day.
“You should be sending email reminders in advance about what your business will be providing on Cyber Monday weekend,” says Derin Oyekan, Co-Founder of Reel Paper.
“Even with shoppers who don’t have social media, you can make a safe assumption that they check their email inbox fairly regularly. Now is the time to amp up the promotional streak by including products, pictures, and prices in your email marketing, as well as links leading directly to your site. A feature I love to use is the option for shoppers to pre-save items to their cart or wishlist in advance of the event, which makes it easier for them to complete their purchase on the day of. Plus, your potential customers are much more likely to remember items they’ve saved in a wishlist and return to them than if they start browsing on Cyber Monday.”
Now is also the prime time to increase your customer base. In order to accelerate your Cyber Monday sales, start promoting your store now.
“You should be funneling your time and resources into expanding your customer base during the weeks and months leading up to Cyber Monday with the knowledge that it could be your e-commerce store’s biggest day of the year. If your audience is a younger demographic, spreading the news on social media is particularly influential for your brand,” says Jeremy Gardner, CEO of MadeMan.
Increasing Website Accessibility
In advance of the big Black Friday weekend, you should be focusing on your website’s accessibility and preparing for a huge influx of visitors. Running tests beforehand and ensuring everything is in good working order might save you from a technical complication that could cost you thousands in sales.
“You can bet on the fact that more people will be shopping on Cyber Monday this year than in previous pre-pandemic seasons,” says Yuvi Alpert, Founder and CEO of Noemie.
“The fact is that many people who usually take full advantage of Black Friday shopping are not comfortable heading into stores and physically conducting their shopping. E-commerce shops can capitalize on this understanding. To do so you must first ensure your website is accessible for every different technical skill level and for all technological devices. Check your computer and mobile web versions and definitely take the time to run diagnostic and speed tests on your website. Make sure all links are properly embedded. You want to make sure your site is up to the challenge of a huge influx of visitors.”
Not only is it immensely important that your e-commerce shop is running smoothly for product browsing, but don’t forget about the most important page on your site: the checkout page. All of the marketing outreach and website updates are worth nothing if customers experience an error with your checkout page during Cyber Monday.
“The most crucial page to ensure the working capabilities of is the shopping cart/checkout page. It could be detrimental to your business’s sales if an issue occurs at the checkout. Also, every website should make their payment process simple. After a whole weekend of shopping, customers may be hesitant to complete another purchase, so any inconvenience could ruin your conversions. Of all the places to ensure ease and efficiency, the checkout is the priority,” says Michael Hennessy, Founder and CEO of Diathrive.
Part of checking in on how your e-commerce website is running includes site organization and flow. Marketing your products in advance of the weekend is an unavoidable strategy, but what good is all the work if your customers are not able to navigate around the site and find what they’re looking for?
“Try to think about how people’s minds work during shopping when you are structuring the organization of your e-commerce store,” says Sarah Pirrie, Brand Director of Healist Naturals. “In-person shoppers can ask for help or follow signs in order to track down an item, but online shoppers may become easily frustrated if your site is not as navigable. Highlight the search bar and ensure your coding redirects even vague or simple search keywords to the right section. And in order to highlight your offerings, sort your products in a variety of ways on your landing page, such as by discount, price, category, audience, and seasonal.”
Aside from website organization, another tactic for maximizing Cyber Monday is launching a special product release in anticipation. Every instance of promoting and reminding your audience about your products is a step in the right direction for conversions.
“Some e-commerce shops choose to release special Cyber Monday product launches during the span of time around the holiday. This is one successful method of increasing your Cyber Monday sales. You need to convince customers that you’re selling something they want, so why not release that special product as they are getting excited for the holiday, or even make it a limited time offer?” says Fred Gerantabee, Chief Experience Officer at Foster Grant.
Convincing your audience to shop with you rather than with the competitors this Cyber Monday weekend all comes down to incentives. If every e-commerce shop and physical store is offering something special for Black Friday weekend, your incentives need to top all the others, or at least be on par with them.
“I would say shoppers expect a certain level of discount incentives during Black Friday weekend,” says Lindsay McCormick, Founder and CEO of Bite. “The whole premise of the event is that it’s the time for shoppers to score deals, so they are going to expect discounts. Customers are also aware that businesses are fighting for their purchases, so they’ll be waiting to hear what your business can offer them that’s better than your competitors. You need to keep up with your competitors’ incentives, as well as go above and beyond to demonstrate the superiority of your products and your offerings.”
One reason people choose to shop digitally for Cyber Monday instead of partaking in in-store Black Friday deals is because of the ease of speedy shipping.
“Pretty much the bare minimum that customers expect when shopping for Cyber Monday is free shipping. While you may choose to establish a price point minimum for free shipping, it should definitely be something you offer if you want to stand up against in-store deals. You also want to let customers know how quickly they’ll receive their purchases, because now you’re entering into the Christmas shopping time crunch. Some potential customers who aren’t satisfied with the time frame of their package arrival will choose to give their business to a physical store where they can leave with their purchases in hand,” says Steven Vigilante, Head of New Business Development at OLIPOP.
Keeping the Customers In Mind
Jeff Meeks, VP of Sales and Marketing at EnergyFit, recommends highlighting your return and refund policies in your marketing strategy leading up to Cyber Monday.
“Some customers are not regular online shoppers solely due to their fear of spending money on a product that doesn’t fit or doesn’t work in the way they’re hoping,” says Meeks. “You can alleviate this concern easily by highlighting your return and refund policies in your outreach, and featuring it on your website as well.”
Remember that the emphasis is on the customers and meeting their needs, so every step needs to be made to ensure your customers are up to date on your Cyber Monday offerings and that their questions are answered.
“In addition to your marketing outreach, make sure you open up solid lines of communication that your customers can use to reach you with any questions. Provide the customer service email address and phone numbers in all communication and feature them on your website. On social media, ensure your customer relations team responds promptly and helpfully,” says Eliza Bank, CEO of The Sill.
As you prepare your e-commerce store for the biggest shopping weekend of the year, it is crucial to consider all the areas where efficiency and accessibility are needed; be sure to place a focus on your marketing outreach during the days leading up to Cyber Monday. With these tips from industry professionals, you will be in a great position to welcome visitors to your e-commerce store this holiday season.