As if the holidays are not rushed and chaotic enough, this year the holiday shopping season is super short — just 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas! Hanukkah begins the day before Thanksgiving, a full 11 days earlier than last year. Fewer days to shop could mean fewer sales if you don’t have a plan.
We’ve previously shared tips to prepare your small business for Black Friday and ideas for Small Business Saturday, now let’s consider Cyber Monday.
Adobe Digital Index is predicting the highest-ever U.S. holiday season online sales including $2,270 million of those sales on December 2, 2013, Cyber Monday. That’s a 250% increase over the average daily online sales.
Since the Black Friday and Small Business Saturday blogs offer some great holiday marketing advice, we decided to share four tips to help ensure that your website is ready to make you as much money as possible on Cyber Monday.
1) Power Up — You, your IT person or a consultant should run a website load test (a process that ramps up website demand and measures the performance and capacity) to see if your site can handle more traffic. If the overall increase was 250% last year, and if you plan to do any Cyber Week marketing, you may want to prepare for at least two-times your normal traffic volume. If your site doesn’t pass the test, you might consider temporarily turning off unnecessary features that could slow performance and hurt traffic and sales. An IT person or consultant will have additional suggestions.
2) Quality Check — While it’s important that you have enough capacity to handle Cyber Monday website traffic, the user experience can also affect your conversion rate. Start running your own quality assurance tests now to make sure your site is working properly. Test your search feature, click through to product details, create a new account and login, make some test purchases to see if your shopping cart and the upsell and cross-sell functions are working properly.
3) Have a Plan B — Heaven forbid Cyber Monday arrives and your site starts acting like the federal government’s healthcare site! Plan for the worse case scenario and have a basic web page that professionally communicates a toll-free number where your customers can still place their cyber orders the old-fashioned way. Hopefully, your other preparations will ensure that you don’t have to use it!
4) Go Mobile — In 2012, there was exponential mobile shopping growth on Cyber Monday, and all indications say that 2013 will be no different. If you don’t already have a mobile-friendly website, you won’t likely have time to make the transition by December 2. Instead, add code to your homepage that detects mobile devices and redirect mobile shoppers to a mobile-friendly landing page. List out your Cyber Monday deals and briefly explain why customers will have a better shopping experience using a desktop PC. Perhaps offer an additional discount code that makes it worth their while to switch to their desktop PC to make the purchase. And make plans today to start the process that will create a comprehensive mobile version of your website in time for your next seasonal shopping spike.