The Ultimate Cyber Monday Ecommerce Strategy Guide for Killer Sales

My business can get a piece of that action.

That’s many of our responses after hearing that consumers spent
$3.45 billion last Cyber
Monday. If more consumers are buying online during the
holiday season, why can’t my business rock Cyber Monday sales?

Of course, your business can have awesome sales on Cyber Monday
this year but that doesn’t happen just because your ecommerce
store is quietly waiting for the droves of customers to flood
your site. Customers don’t wake up on Black Friday or Cyber
Monday and just stumble onto your site; it only happens because
we make it happen and it takes planning, preparation and
strategy.

And the time to start is today.

Here’s a comprehensive guide that will walk you through the
process of creating the ultimate online Cyber Monday sales
strategy.

Think Cyber Week, Not Cyber Monday

The evolution away from Black Friday to Cyber Monday isn’t what
you would expect. Actually, it’s more of a Cyber Week.

Although Black Friday is considered the best in-store shopping
day, Black Friday online sales were only $110 million less than Cyber Monday
sales in 2016. Both Walmart and Target offered special
deals throughout the week which is a departure from trying to
create two distinct and separate shopping days: one online and
one offline.

Even Field & Stream understands that now is the time to put
the idea of a weeklong sales opportunity into their customer’s
minds as they have already launched this ad:

Stop thinking Cyber Monday and start thinking in terms of an
entire Cyber Week. Of course, you can still focus your best
discounts on Cyber Monday, but you’ll miss out if you ignore
the opportunities during the rest of the week.

Become a Data Czar

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

The bad news is you’re going to have to learn statistics. The
good news is that your tech will probably perform most of the
calculations for you. You don’t have to learn probabilities,
just learn how to understand trends and identify opportunities.

Here are a few categories of stats to focus on when preparing
for Cyber Week:

Social Media:

Which social media platform is sending the majority of
consumers to your ecommerce store?

Which of your social media platforms has the best
engagement?

What type of content is your most popular? (Video, blog
posts, infographics, etc.)

Email:

Where are the majority of your customers joining your email
list?

What is your click-through rate?

What types of email titles are your best performers?

Sales:

What are your best selling products?

What are your most profitable products?

What devices (mobile, tablet or desktop) do your customers
use to make sales?

You can easily track all this data through your ecommerce
platform, Google Analytics, email management service and your
own sales records. The idea is to see what works best for you
and identify your biggest opportunities. It will take some time
(if you’re not already doing this – which you should be!) but
it will be worth it.

Double Check Your Foundation

One of my favorite business metaphors is about the pyramids.
The only reason they are standing after all this time is
because they have a strong foundation. It’s the exact same
thing in business. Your business will succeed or fail depending
on the strength of your foundation. Here are a few parts of
your foundation to analyze before you create your Cyber Week
plan.

Make Sure Your Site is Flawless & Fast

People are incredibly impatient. In fact, 40% of consumers will click away
from a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.
Sure, some will stick around because they really want your
product but to achieve record breaking profits during Cyber
Week you’ll need to go through your entire site and test every
aspect. Never give customers a reason to spend their money
someplace else.

Recapture Sales with Abandoned Cart Emails

In How to Write an Abandoned Cart
Email That Really Works (Plus a Freebie Template!), Kristen
Runvik shares:

Instead of your customers walking away for good into the
internet black hole, your abandoned cart email can remind
them of your product, increasing the chance of the sale. Over
50% of revenue can be gained through abandoned cart emails

Many ecommerce platforms offer an abandoned cart recovery
feature. If yours doesn’t, either find software that does this
for you or switch ecommerce platforms – it’s that important.

All Systems Work on All Platforms

Business Insider’s Andrew Meola explains that the “mobile shopping experience is a
nightmare”. Yet, mobile commerce is growing and is expected
to grow every year. Technology will improve and the shopping
experience will be easier. But for now, you can add a buy now
button which give users a one-click option that works well on
mobile devices.

Build Your Email List Now

“If you are not seeing the email channel as a money making
machine, you have the wrong strategy” – Hans Smellinckx

The only way for your amazing Cyber Week email marketing
campaign to work is to build up your email list now. Your
social media followers are important, but your email list is
gold. Do some A/B testing now to figure out the best way to
sign up subscribers and focus on doubling your list by
November.

Consider Every Sales Platform

The way people buy products online is always changing. Many
retailers have found success not only by selling from their
website but offering additional sales opportunities on various
social media platforms.

It’s now possible to embed a sales option directly into a
YouTube video:

You can also add a “Buyable Pin” to your Pinterest Board. Note,
this is still in the testing phase and you have to meet
Pinterests standards and apply. Also, there is a list of items
that are prohibited, including:

Customizable products

Non-physical goods, like digital downloads

Live animals

Weight loss products

You can also add a shop section to your Facebook page. Check
out which platforms offer sales opportunities and choose the
ones that work with your business.

Your business is unique and your foundation will be different
than anyone else’s. Take a look at how each of the systems your
business is built on works. Test them and see what can be
improved. You don’t want to flood your site with customers who
want to buy your product but run into some technical snag along
the way.

Prepare Eye-Catching Visuals

A picture’s worth a thousand words and as an online store
you’re trying to sell a product that consumers can’t feel,
touch, smell, taste, or try on. Pictures or videos are the only
way for you to showcase your product during Cyber Week. Let’s
say your ecommerce store sells gourmet coffee and you use this
picture on your website:

There is nothing wrong with this picture. It’s actually a great
picture. But it doesn’t scream “CHRISTMAS” or “HOLIDAY
SPECIAL”! And if you’re trying to capture the attention of
Cyber Week shoppers, you may want to mix things up. Maybe try
something like this instead:

Strong visuals make a statement and help sell more products.
Here are a few ways to amp up your Cyber Week pictures:

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Your Own Pictures

Since you’re probably not a professional photographer, you may
be nervous about taking your own product pictures but today’s
technology makes it really easy to take fantastic pictures. Of
course, it takes practice and the right equipment, however, the
investment isn’t as much as you might expect. In 7 Steps to Creating
Picture-Perfect Product Images For your Online Store,
Kirsten Lamb explains that while an expensive camera may be
nice, it’s not always necessary:

While a DSLR camera will produce some awesome images, an
iPhone camera and a standard digital camera can also produce
some great shots; the photos you get with these may just
require a little more tweaking with a photo editor

Make Your Images Bigger

One test on a popular auction website showed that increasing pictures from 250
pixels to 350 pixels enticed “63% more visitors to click to
start the bidding process. Even better, a whopping 329% more
visitors who started bidding actually filled out all the online
forms required to place a bid.” Simply make your pictures
bigger (within reason) so that they are easy to view on any
device.

Show Off User Generated Photos

If you have a strong following on visual mediums such as
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat, you can incorporate
user generated photos and videos into your marketing campaigns.

Vanity Planet asks customers to post photos on Instagram with
the hashtag #VPBeauty. Vanity Planet also allows Instagram
users to checkout from that page and the combination of the
hashtag and customer photos increased checkouts by 24%!

 

Show Off Different Views

Obviously, customers can’t physically touch an item before they
buy it online. They can’t pick it up or feel how soft the
material is, the only thing they can do is look at a picture.
Because of this, ecommerce product photos have to draw
customers in and make them want to buy the product and that
means showing customers images of the product from as many
angles as possible.

Add People to Your Photos

You want your visuals to tell a story. Using a gourmet coffee
ecommerce store as an example, don’t just show a cup of coffee
in the product photo, use a picture of someone enjoying the
coffee!

Adding people into your visuals is one way to increase
conversions and sales. One art company changed illustrated
pictures of artist to actual pictures of the artist and
conversions increased by 95
percent! Another business redesigned their landing page and
replaced text with a picture of one of their actual customers.
That increased conversions by over 100 percent!

Each business will have a marketing budget that may or may not
include new photo shoots. Do what you can to make your pictures
stand out on every platforms, including your website, social
media profiles and posts. Use stock pictures if you must, but
make sure they don’t look like stock photos. Always remember
that your pictures may be your first opportunity to make a good
first impression, so choose each one carefully.

Cyber Week Sales Essentials

People are getting very comfortable with online holiday
shopping, they know that if they search around the web they
will find the absolute best deals available. If your ecommerce
store can’t deliver an outstanding sale, consumers will click
someplace else.

It’s the time to pull out all the stops and create a shopping
experience that no customer can resist. It’s the time to give
customers exactly what they have come to expect from Cyber
Week.

Create Holiday Gift Guides

Some consumers like to browse and some consumers just want to
be told what their traveling hippie aunt would really love for
Christmas or what their father-in-law may like for his garden
or even which toys are appropriate for kids between 5-7 years
old.

You know your business and customers best, so you’ll be able to
create unique gift guides that would help your customers choose
the perfect gift. Mexicali Blues, an online shop that caters to
the bohemian niche market, has a few different gift guides
including:

Shop Music Lover

Shop Traveler

Shop Mindful Spirit

Shop Forever Flower Child

Shop Boho Home

Shop Funky Fashionista

Shop Hippie Chica

Shop Stocking Stuffers

I don’t even know what each of these categories mean but these
guides would make it very easy to buy an amazing gift for any
free-spirited friend and that’s the point. Make it easy for
someone who doesn’t know a lot about your products to buy the
right gift.

Choose Doorbuster Specials

Here’s where your awesome research comes in handy. You already
know what your biggest sellers are and you know what products
have the biggest profit margins. Choose something that you know
is an easy draw but don’t make it your best seller because
you’ll already be selling that product. Make it something that
drives people to your site and invites them to stick around and
shop some more.

One of the best things about Cyber Week is you don’t have to be
a traditional retailer to increase sales. Currclick is a
digital homeschool curriculum site that sells a huge variety of
downloads. Why not jump on the Cyber Monday bandwagon? Their
customers are already shopping online and will happily take
advantage of any sale they stumble upon, even if it’s not your
typical gift item.

Offer Shipping Deals

Shipping is probably the make it or break it issue for many
online shoppers. They know many retailers will offer free
shipping and may not even give your shop a chance if you don’t
entice them with an amazing shipping deal.

Kissmetrics’s Sherice Jacob explains the importance of free
shipping: “Time and time again, shoppers
say that this factor over all others compels them to
order.” Outdoor merchant L.L. Bean has a policy of free
shipping on every order along with a no questions asked return
policy. This makes L.L. Bean an ideal online shopping
experience for consumers.

But free shipping just isn’t possible for some merchants.
Depending on your pricing structure, overall shipping costs and
location, free shipping may be too costly for your business.
Yet, there is still a way to offer a shipping deal. Instead of
a flat free-shipping policy, try offering free shipping when
the customer spends a certain amount of money. You can also try
adding a progress bar in their shopping cart that shows how
much they have in their cart and how much they need to reach
the free shipping threshold.

Add Upsells and Add-Ons

Many years ago, my son wanted something called Floam for his
birthday. I think the initial offer was $19.99 plus shipping.
Since my adorable offspring wanted it for his special day, his
wish was my command but I was quickly upsold and actually spent
about $75 for a huge box of whatever this is:

There are a lot of ways that online merchants can get their
customers to buy a little bit more. Maybe offer to increase the
size of the order (that’s how I ended up with buckets of Floam)
or you could offer a discount on a product that complements
their initial purchase. Amazon does this perfectly with their
“Frequently Bought Together” options.

Native Remedies, a homeopathic store for both people and pets,
offers specials like “Buy 2 Get 1 Free”. They also offer
bundles with additional savings and coupon codes for loyal
customers.

Take a look at your previous sales offers and if they met
customer’s expectations or completely bombed (both are good
information to know). Design a Cyber Week plan that can be
quickly executed: you want to be ready to go with teases, leads
and sales promotions before Black Friday, not scrambling to put
together an offer after Thanksgiving dinner.

This Opportunity Won’t Come Knocking at Your Door

Sometimes you walk into an amazing opportunity but simply
finding success during Cyber Week isn’t one of them. Sure, you
may make some sales on Cyber Monday because you have an online
store and people are shopping but that’s really wasting the
opportunity that’s uniquely ecommerce-based.

In Your Tiny eStore Can Crush
Amazon this Cyber Week, I urged small online businesses to
take a chance and create their own strategy:

Don’t be intimidated by Amazon’s success. Instead of trying
to fight a losing battle, simply shift your focus to a game
you can win. And you can absolutely dominate online sales
with the right strategy.

Adopt the mindset that you’re creating your own opportunities.
You’re staking your claim on the billions made during Cyber
Week. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, or what you
sell. There’s a market for your product. All you need to do is
create the pathway that finds consumers and brings them to your
site in November.
Make sure your
ecommerce business is prepared for Cyber Monday with these
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