5 Tips to Mastering Cyber Monday Chaos
Cyber Monday is the event of the season for e-commerce brands. Coming off of the Black Friday rush, IBM's Smarter Commerce division reported that 2012 Cyber Monday was the largest online shopping day in history. With sales steadily increasing, theNational Retail Federation has cited potential for this season, forecasting higher than the 10-year average holiday sales. Retailers should have their own checklist: All that's needed to meet the festive customer demand. Below find five tips to mastering the impending Cyber Monday chaos:
1. Always be testing. Rolling out new features and streamlining your website should focus on positioning the best-value products in front of visitors as fast as possible with little room for content consumption. Test out any new features, add-ons or attribution now so there's confidence that they'll work in time.
2. Merge in-store and online. Harmonizing data across all channels and hyperlocal strategies will help avoid the risk of alienating consumers with inconsistent messaging. Consumers’ online experiences are becoming increasingly significant to the state of offline purchases, so ensure communications are consistent and pertinent to regional behaviors. For example, unify and ensure all regional website promotions are also available in-store.
3. Curate the experience. While Cyber Monday shoppers are avoiding the crowds, the personalized in-store experience is still valuable. Ensure that visitors can sort the sale category pages by percent-off reduction. This prioritizes the results by value for their money rather than by price. Visitors seek items with the highest reductions, so simplify the search.
Gift guides also bring a bespoke touch. Shoppers seeking inspiration are more likely to purchase and reduce post-holiday returns. Link to a size or buying guide detailing specifications and create category pages for gifts or add filters to existing pages helping shoppers navigate their list. Here are some questions that a gift guide can help answer:
- Who is the present for? What's their age? Relationship to the buyer? Gender? Personality?
- Is it a secret Santa gift? A stocking filler?
- Do you need a gift for under $30?
4. Don't forget the little things. Consider implementing the following strategies during the holiday sales rush:
- Target messages: To capitalize on the droves on cyber surfers, push sales messages now. Use confirmation pages and email to send messaging about upcoming sales bonanzas, especially if you're offering a discount code or voucher.
- Return policies: During the Cyber Monday and holiday sales frenzy, shoppers tend to overlook obvious guidelines. Make sure your return policy is clear and easy to find. If hosting an above-average policy such as free returns, make this highly visible on the sale landing page.
- Delivery dates: The second biggest concern for shoppers after ensuring the price is right is whether their gifts will arrive in time. Put minds at ease with explicit delivery information.
- Upsell and cross-sell: Raise average order values by cross-selling associated products at checkout. Place upsell and cross-sell products next to the basket, especially if offering a free delivery threshold. Recommend spur-of-the-moment stocking fillers, focusing on cheaper, lower consideration goods. Provide enough information in the description to facilitate the purchase without needing to return to the product page. Don't overdo it, however. Limit upselling and cross-selling to a maximum of three items.
5. Don't have Cyber Monday tunnel vision. The savviest online retailers are the ones that plan ahead for post-Cyber Monday shopping; they allocate specific budgets to capture additional pre- and post-holiday peaks. With gift buying in the rear view, retailers need to quickly adapt their websites to cater to the veteran bargain hunter.
To find out how you can optimize your website even more over the holidays, download our whitepaper here.
Graham Cooke is the CEO and co-founder of Qubit, a company that gives online retailers the power to optimize their sites and drive sales in real time.