Is Your Business Ready for Cyber Monday?

As we enter this Thanksgiving holiday week, many are gazing at the upcoming Black Friday promotions with wide eyes. Every year, scores of deal-hungry families use this special day to kick off their holiday gift-giving purchasing. 

However, the seasoned shopping veterans are keenly aware that there is an additional opportunity to save big. 

Enter: Cyber Monday.

The Monday following \”Black Friday\” is when most businesses see their online sales explode. Whether customers are making up for missed opportunities on Friday or would prefer to shop rather than work, consumers are flocking to the Internet to open their wallets. 

Is Your Business Ready for Cyber Monday? Let\’s go over a brief checklist of things to prepare.

Shop Your Website

If you operate an omnichannel business or not, your website is likely the hub of your online operations. Selling through social media or email marketing, for example, directs customers back to your website. 

So, is your website an excellent place to shop?

Go through your e-commerce store and look at your offerings through the eyes of your customers. Are your product categories easy to navigate and logical? Are your product descriptions descriptive enough? How is your product photography?

Of course, fix any spelling errors and broken links you stumble across during your assessment. 

While these considerations are relevant anytime during the year, the time you have your customer\’s attention on Cyber Monday is limited. 

Being Mobile-Ready

Much online commerce is transacted on a mobile device these days. When \”the best computer is the one you have access to,\” many shoppers grab their phone when the inspiration strikes and place their orders. It\’s essential to have a website that performs quickly and solidly from a mobile phone or tablet, especially over cellular connections.

In addition, search engines, such as Google, favor mobile-friendly websites in their search results. So, if you\’re not offering a good user experience to your mobile audience, you will be penalized. 

Prepare for High Traffic Volume

This tip is less about the website structure and more about your web server hosting platform. 

With the anticipated boost in traffic, it\’s possible your web server can become overwhelmed, either slowing down or crashing altogether. It\’s also possible the network your server is on can become congested, restricting data from flowing at an acceptable rate and negatively impacting the user experience. 

Solutions for these concerns vary and, frankly, deserve an article dedicated exclusively to this topic. However, the critical takeaway is preparing for this, and having a conversation with your hosting provider is the first place to start. 

Some hosting solutions, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), offer \”elastic\” hosting that will increase your allotted bandwidth as demand rises. This on-demand feature gives you the benefit of enterprise-level expansion without carrying the costs throughout the entire year. 

For more extensive operations, geographically diverse redundant servers could be the right solution. With your content distributed based on the users\’ location, data can transfer more efficiently, and your load can be better balanced. 

Optimize Your Website for Search (SEO)

When hunting those great deals, your customers will be storming their nearest search engine. As they punch in those search keywords, you will want your e-commerce store to appear among the results. 

While Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts are a lengthy and ongoing process, it\’s never too late to start. Organic traffic building can be some of the least expensive customer acquisition tools in your arsenal. 

For solid SEO, it\’s essential to assign ALT Tag naming to any product images on your e-commerce website. While this was traditionally used to help the visually impaired navigate your website using specific tools, search engines have come to rely on these tags to determine the subject matter of an image which it can\’t simply read. 

Next, make sure your product descriptions read well to the \”human\” visitor and contain the search phrases for which you would like the search bots to rank you well. SEO is a mix of art and science, and this is an area where that is most true. 

Put Together a Blog

Blogging is another effective way of elevating your search rank. In short, providing educational content around your products or services helps your customers understand you are an industry thought leader. To the search engines, this blog content allows them to classify your domain as an authority on these particular topics. 

SEO can be much more comprehensive and complex than these few ideas, but this is an effective place to start.

Preload Your Promotional Email

Your marketing department should have your email marketing strategy queued up and ready to go in advance of this busy day. With the flurry of inbound email messages to your customers, you will need to stand out from the pack in their Inboxes. 

For example, deploying email with varying subject lines can be an easy way to A/B test your messaging. Dividing up your recipient list by the number of subject lines you would like to test allows you to determine which messages had the most substantial impact. Later in the day, you can deploy the most potent message to the rest of your list. 

If there\’s a possibility of stock shortages, have another email product promotion drafted and ready to launch should the need arise. If you exhaust one product too early on Cyber Monday, you will want to promote something else and keep the dollars flowing in. 

Check Your Inventory Management System

Getting orders is lovely; fulfilling orders is essential. As the flood of orders rushes in, do you have the technology infrastructure to make the fulfillment process as painless as possible? How are you prepared to handle the holiday returns?

If your answer was \”no,\” or you felt your eyes glaze over, then I suggest you take a peek at an ERP system that syncs with your e-commerce platform. Oh, and be sure to find one that can scale with you as your business grows. 

Preparing your business with the proper foundation for inventory management, order fulfillment, shipping and returns management, and accounting can dramatically increase your team\’s productivity. 

While this, too, is a toolset you can benefit from year-round, it\’s times like Cyber Monday where you can genuinely appreciate a system like this. 

Get Social

If you\’re not active on social media for your business, you\’re missing out on a golden opportunity. Like your SEO effort, building an organic audience on social media is a lengthy process. Unlike SEO, however, the time dedicated to social media is building relationships. This makes sense as it takes time to do the same in the offline world. 

These interactions create \”brand believers\” in time and become an evangelist network for your online store. It can become a very cost-effective way to drive business and spread the word about your brand at scale. 

Hopefully, you find these tips helpful in preparation for Cyber Monday. If you have any questions or need a hand getting ready, Contact Us today—we\’re here to help!

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