Cyber Monday is right around the corner, and for e-commerce customers that means one thing – huge discounts. But what does it mean for e-commerce business owners? How can you create loyal customers out of one-time-only Cyber Monday shoppers?
As an e-commerce store owner, you have a lot to gain by promoting your store and offering discounts during this time. In 2016, American customers hit a new record for online shopping, buying $3.34 billion of goods online during the weekend after Thanksgiving. There are people out there who only buy things online during this time of year.
However, having a great sales day is one thing – turning those one-time sales into longtime brand loyalists who keep buying afterwards is more valuable. Use the following tips and tricks to optimize your online store for consistently converting this special group of one-time customers.
Part One: Cyber Monday Preparation
Before thinking about discounts or coming up with a promotion strategy, take some time to assess your website’s infrastructure. With the right approach, you could be pulling in your biggest sales weekend of the year, and you want to be absolutely sure you can handle it.
Ask yourself the following questions:
• What if your website crashes on Cyber Monday?
You should be ambitious with your sales goals, but realistic with your server architecture. What happens if tens of thousands of people decide to access your site at the same time? In most cases, this traffic spike shuts down the site temporarily and can even get your host angry with you.
If you run your site on a shared server, for instance, and a traffic spike shuts it down, the other websites you share that server with will be affected, and your host will probably penalize you for it. Fortunately, you can install server-side caching, use a content delivery network, or increase the number of concurrent database connections your site offers. Having your site go down on Cyber Monday is a huge loss. Verify your server load capacity using a tool like Load Impact.
• How Many Orders Can You Realistically Process Quickly?
This question usually applies most to e-commerce stores that don’t rely on automation to fulfill orders. For every step of the fulfillment process delegated to a human being, you need to make sure that a trained employee is ready and willing to work.
This can apply to any part of your business, but it is especially important for shipping departments and customer service centers. You don’t want to be shipping Cyber Monday orders out in mid-December.
• How Big of a Discount Can You Offer Per Item?
Choose from between your most popular items and give them the heaviest discount you possibly can. Remember that this is a highly competitive time, so your customers will certainly be comparing your product’s prices with your competitors’.
Even if you end up selling products at-cost now, the long-term strategy is to turn those customers into brand loyalists who will purchase from your site for years.
Part Two: E-Commerce Sales and Promotion
If you are sure your website can handle Cyber Monday and you have picked out the items that you are going to attract new customers with, you are ready to promote.
To get the word out about your sale, you should be prepared to take a highly visual multi-tiered approach. Invest in some banner ad images and even a few full-page promotional graphics so that you can release them over time. Remember that each individual customer will probably see your ads multiple times – don’t let your brand become an eyesore.
Change your website’s header image to promote your sale. Create an attractive newsletter blast to all of your previous customers. Get social media buzzing about your sale and don’t be afraid to invest in sponsored content. This is the only time of year when people actually like being advertised to – you should take full advantage of that fact!
If you have made multiple sets of ad imagery, you can now build suspense by telling customers about one bargain at a time and always dropping hints about the next. Dropping individual product prices one day at a time and announcing that fact at the same time every 24 hours is an effective way of doing this.
Once the day hits, make sure your live chat application is fully staffed, and be ready to go the extra mile.
Part Three: Keep Them Coming Back For More Online Shopping
Now that you have a vehicle in place for benefitting from extra Cyber Monday sales, you need to create a system for maximizing conversions.
Keep in mind that even if you enjoy a huge boost in sales, you may still have hundreds of freshly abandoned carts to deal with. In fact, OpenUp calculates you’ll have 21% more abandoned shopping carts than in any other weekend this year.
To encourage customer fidelity, you need to engage one-time shoppers and site visitors all the way through the holidays. Set up a drip email campaign so that new subscribers receive a sequential set of introductory emails before getting to your latest newsletters. You should also encourage new customers to review your products online.
If you have social media conversion tracking tools installed on your website, you can use these to great effect post-Cyber Monday. For instance, with Facebook Pixel you can show individual website visitors sponsored posts with products they left in their shopping cart, or reviews of accessories for products they just purchased.
Keeping track of all of these data is guaranteed to be a daunting task. To make it easier, use a tool like Trendify to monitor your sales and conversion performance during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend and then use that data to inform your conversion strategy for the rest of December.