Cyber Monday ecommerce sales are expected to reach $2.2 billion this year, according to a new report, making the Monday after Thanksgiving one of the most important days of the year for online retailers.
Shoppers looking for holiday gifts online will want low prices, special offers, and free shipping, according to the Adobe Digital Index 2013 Online Shopping Forecast released last week. Adobe estimated that Cyber Monday sales would be up about 14 percent to the aforementioned $2.2 billion. Separately, Adobe also predicted that approximately one-in-seven online orders would originate from a mobile device like a tablet computer or smartphone, meaning that mobile ecommerce may be up 40 percent year-over-year, to more than $300 million on Cyber Monday alone.
The Adobe Digital Index, which aggregates survey information with analytics data from about 450 billion site visits to more than 2,000 online retail sites over seven years, reminds retailers how important Cyber Monday is for consumer ecommerce. Although the most forward looking online retailers have been preparing for Cyber Monday for some time, there are still last minute things that Internet merchants can do to help prepare for and earn more Cyber Monday sales.
Get Mobile Now
While the Adobe forecast estimated that the average online merchant should expect, perhaps, 14 percent of sales to come from tablets and smartphones, Internet retailers with mobile-optimized sites may get as much as 20 percent of total sales from mobile.
This data may indicate a measurable, incremental growth in sales for mobile-ready retailers. Although Cyber Monday may seem like it is just around the corner, there are still options for having a mobile site ready to go in time if the retailer starts right now and invests the money necessary to expedite the process.
Small online retailers may be able to get a responsive design in a few days, or even implement a “holiday” theme, which is already responsive. Services like Shopgate make it feasible to have a mobile presence in short order.
Buy PPC Ads
If an online retailer only buys pay-per-click advertising once a year, Cyber Monday should be that time. Shoppers are going to be actively looking online for discounted prices, special offers, and free shipping. It may make sense to focus ad copy and graphics around those three things.
Also consider using retargeting, which can show promotions and ads to shoppers who have left a retail site.
A final PPC tip is to use Facebook and similar social media sites in addition to search engines and ad networks. Social media ads have seen significant growth in click rates this year and can be a good source of site traffic.
Add Live Chat
Live chat lets an online retailer interact with shoppers in real time in a way that is analogous to a store clerk helping a customer in a brick-and-mortar shop. This simple service can significantly increase sales and conversion rates, since it gives retailers a chance to address customer concerns, answer customer questions, or even guide buying decisions.
Adding live chat to an ecommerce site can be easy. For example, it is reasonable that a merchant could have a solution like Olark or similar up and running in time for Cyber Monday.
Offer Free Shipping
In truth there is nothing free about shipping. It is a significant expense, and shoppers, frankly, want a lot of that expense to come out of retail margins this holiday season. Offering to pay for shipping has become an industry standard, and on Cyber Monday, merchants need to find a way to make some kind of a free shipping offer.
If you need inspiration, consider Chewy. This online pet food and gear supplier offers free shipping on all orders over $49.00 all of the time, including heavy packages, like 40-pound bags of dry dog food.
Offer a Discount
It is also important to offer some kind of discount or special price on Cyber Monday. Remember that the Adobe report found that most online shoppers are looking for low prices and special offers.
Try to keep offers simple. For example, offer a straightforward percentage off or an explicit dollar discount like $10 off of any $50 order. You might also try giving shoppers a “free” gift card with purchase or “free” accessories with a purchase.
Make certain that you include any Cyber Monday discounts in email marketing, on site, on social media, and in PPC ads.
This may seem obvious, but one simple way to get more sales on Cyber Monday could be to have more inventory available for sale.
An established online merchant with regular traffic may consider boosting inventory levels of basic products in anticipation of Cyber Monday. So long as a merchant has a history of selling these products anyway, the extra inventory poses relatively little risk, since these items can be sold later if they don’t meet expectations on Cyber Monday.