Holiday Ideas & Strategies

Cyber Monday is the Biggest Sales Opportunity in 2018: Here’s What to Do About It + Marketing Ideas

/ 8 min read
cyber monday marketing

Cyber Monday just may be the only retail holiday that advocates shopping in your pajamas.

And why not?

Over 95% of Americans now own a cellphone of some kind, according to Pew research.

Shopping in one’s pajamas doesn’t prevent any spending, either.

According to Fundivo, the average order on Cyber Monday in 2015 was higher than the average order for Black Friday.

Come Cyber Monday, your business is going to want to get in on that.

2017’s Cyber Monday saw mobile internet’s first $2 billion dollar day, according to Business Insider, while BigCommerce merchants experienced their highest sales week ever.

Following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday has fast become the go-to shopping day for techies, lovers of electronics, and, yes, mobile shoppers, too.

For companies that have yet to fully embrace the digital world, this year’s Cyber Monday represents the ideal time to run a metaphorical “system update” on your ecommerce presence.

But it’s not just mobile purchases that you need to think about. Also consider:

  • Cyber Monday 2017 was the largest single day of online shopping in U.S. history, according to CNBC. Digital transactions totaled $16.9 billion, an increase of 16.8% from the year before.
  • According to MarketingLand, more and more consumers are switching to online shopping during the holidays to avoid the mad dash of foot traffic.
  • By just 10 a.m. on Cyber Monday 2017, customers had already bought nearly a billion dollars’ worth of goods online.
  • Millennials have become the biggest spenders during the holiday weekend, spending over $400 per person.

Cyber Monday represents the single most important day of the year for any marketer that wants to hook their business into the digital retail environment.

That especially applies to mobile purchases. As Dennis Green said:

Mobile is now the de facto platform for shoppers. Retailers who haven’t yet embraced mobile are about to be left behind.”

And data echoes this sentiment.

According to Adweek, mobile represented 64% of shopping visits over the holiday weekend.

Cyber Monday may just be your website’s biggest chance to convert visitors into customers. Here’s what you’ll need to know to make that possible.

The History of Cyber Monday

We can thank the marketing team at Shop.org for the existence of “Cyber Monday.”

While it might seem like a slam-dunk to promote online sales on the Monday after Black Friday, it wasn’t always a popular idea.

When it started in 2005, Cyber Monday didn’t even rank in the top ten sales days of the year.

But that has changed.

Not only has Cyber Monday become one of the most popular days to shop throughout the entire year, it now also leads the way in a variety of retail categories, particularly when it comes to online sales, as seen below:

cyber monday marketing shopping sales

Image Source: Statista.com

After 2005, the day itself took on special significance to coincide with the rise of Internet retail.

When Is Cyber Monday This Year?

Cyber Monday falls on November 26, 2018 this year.

But that’s not to say that’s when it shows up every year.

As the Monday following Thanksgiving, this retail holiday can go late.

Next year, in 2019, the holiday kickoff will go through the beginning of December, with Cyber Monday falling on December 2nd.

Getting Your Site Ready for Cyber Monday

Think of Cyber Monday as a digital rush for your website: You might not be able to see the traffic come through your door, but your online shop better be able to handle it.

When Cyber Monday rolls around, you’ll want your site to be responsive, mobile-compatible, and most importantly: Up and running.

Here are some tools to help you prepare:

  • Site Speed: Check out Google’s developmental tools to run a speed test and get to the bottom of what might be causing load times to lag.
  • Uptime: Nothing works unless your site does–but you won’t always be there to check. Use a service like Uptime Robot to begin monitoring your site for downtime.
  • Mobile compatibility: With a majority of Cyber Monday purchases potentially coming through mobile channels, it’s never been more important to ensure your site can handle mobile traffic. Run a mobile compatibility test with Google. Even if you’re ready to handle mobile purchases, this site will help you diagnose slow-loading pages.

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Cyber Monday Marketing Ideas

With a fully-functioning site and knowledge of the boost Cyber Monday can be to your business, all that’s left to learn are the key strategies for capitalizing on the craze.

1. Offer a free or reduced-price trial.

There’s a reason 44% of subscription-based companies get their foot in the door with a free trial: It usually works (and hooks the buyer.)

But will it work for products?

Between upselling opportunities and trial renewals, free or reduced trials can have a dramatic impact on your ecommerce business–especially those that sell products on a subscription basis.

Cyber Monday Pro Tip: Advertise Well Beforehand

Maddy OsmanMake sure to advertise your Cyber Monday deal well before, during, and after Black Friday. There’s going to be a lot of noise, so it’s not enough to mention a certain day’s deal once or in passing.

The numbers demonstrate that people are somehow still interested in dropping the big bucks after Black Friday. According to The Balance, Cyber Monday sales surpassed Black Friday sales in 2017: $6.6 million to $5 million.

Don’t get fatigued—push through past Black Friday and you’ll be rewarded.

– Maddy Osman, SEO Content Strategist, The Blogsmith.

2. Create a cyber-exclusive offer or one-day deal.

Who’s going to show up for a single-day deal? You might be surprised.

With daily deal websites more popular than ever, a one-time cyber-exclusive deal on Cyber Monday is a great way to capture your target market’s attention and upsell your other products.

3. Run a “share this” contest.

People like prizes.

When Gillie’s Coffee in New York City ran a Stocking Stuffer Giveaway with a modest prize of a coffee maker and a bag of coffee, they received over 2,000 entries through their Facebook portal.

Imagine what you could do with a Cyber Monday audience.

To ensure your contest goes smoothly, try using a service like Gleam to tailor your contest to those would-be shoppers who share your content online.

4. Create hidden gems on your website.

Already have the retail infrastructure in place, but need more traffic?

Try something different-like a “scavenger hunt” on your product pages.

Rather than publish a single coupon code, try hiding it somewhere on your website and telling your followers that anyone who finds it gets to use it.

5. Create a newsletter-exclusive Cyber Monday deal to boost newsletter signups.

If you need to drive more attention to your newsletter and email blasts, there’s no better time than Cyber Monday.

Users are already looking for web-friendly deals and discounts.

Many Cyber Monday shoppers will happily sign up for a newsletter in exchange for a Cyber Monday deal you were already going to offer.

Cyber Monday Pro Tip: Re-engage Your Customers

Cyber Monday is like Black Friday but on the tail end. It’s important to appeal to customers who might’ve missed out on your Black Friday sale.

This means it’s important to not only communicate what they missed out on but also to communicate how there’s still something left for them.

Create a post Black Friday re-engagement campaign that focuses on incentivizing and rewarding customers for purchasing soon.

– David Feng, Co-Founder and Head of Product, Re:amaze.

6. Create a digital product for free.

Sometimes you might need to incentivize social media shares and newsletter signups.

One way to do that is to offer a digital product available for free download.

Many customers are already looking to save a buck-and many are perfectly willing to trade an email address for the feeling of capitalizing on a Cyber Monday deal.

7. Upsell.

Upsells and cross-sells aren’t just nice when you can get them.

One Forrester research analyst estimated that these promotions can be responsible for between 10-30% of retail revenues.

8. Prepare to fight the abandoned cart.

It’s the Achilles Heel of Cyber Monday: The abandoned shopping cart.

According to the Baymard Institute, customers abandon as many as 70% of shopping carts.

That means abandoned carts are your foe this shopping season.

Concentrate on retargeting campaigns and have them in place by the time the holiday rolls around.

Cyber Monday Pro Tip: Use Customer Support to Optimize for Conversion

On a day like Cyber Monday, where you’re expecting a significant increase in website traffic, it’s essential that your customer support is up to speed. People will be browsing from site to site, and if they can’t get their questions answered fast, they’ll buy from your competitor instead.

You’ve already spent money on getting traffic to your website, so make sure you’re fully prepared to convert those visitors into customers. This can be done by using a popup chat box on your site, as long as someone is available to respond to customers throughout the day.

You could also use an exit-intent popup, asking them how you can help, just before they leave your site.

– Emil Kristensen, CMO & Co-founder, Sleeknote.

9. Add a pop-up.

That’s right: a pop-up.

Pop-ups often get a bad rap, but it’s also possible to use them effectively with minimal interference.

If you’re using one to promote a Cyber Monday-only deal, your site visitors will only have to look at it for one day anyway.

10. Add scarcity to your offer.

One advantage of Cyber Monday: It has scarcity built right in.

Users know that the deals aren’t going to last, so your reminders will be all the more effective – and believable.

Try integrating a countdown timer with your store to reinforce that the sales are indeed temporary.

Cyber Monday Pro Tip: Use On-Page Timers + Countdowns

There are a few tactics you can use here:

  1. Since most users search for discounts and promo codes online, have a dedicated page (or multiple pages) for special offers and discounts that are optimized for the search terms.
  2. Also use timers on-page (or on the discounts page) to show the user how time is running out on the promotions you’re running.

– Catalin Zorzini, Founder, Ecommerce Platforms.

11. Piggyback on Cyber Monday success with extended sales.

You can add scarcity to your offer without limiting yourself to a single day.

As you create deals, don’t forget that the days immediately following the shopping weekend will see accelerated demand as well.

Cyber Monday Pro Tip: Think Beyond Cyber Monday

Focus on Cyber Monday and beyond – consumers will still be looking for deals and you don’t have to sell your soul to compete on one day that has become more of a local evening news visual than a great shopping experience.

Launch on Sunday and carry through unique promos the entire week.

– Jackson Jeyanayagam, CMO, Boxed.

12. Launch a new product or service on Cyber Monday.

According to Fundivo, 50% of Americans are planning on shopping for something on Cyber Monday.

There may be no better day to launch a new product or service intended to give your revenues a boost.

Capitalize on the increased attention and site visits by introducing new items on the big day.

13. Start a drip campaign–now.

Cyber Monday doesn’t have to only be the start of a new offering.

It can also be the culmination of marketing work you’ve done to build up to the holiday.

Not sure how?

Consider using what Zapier deems the best drip marketing apps for email to get a head-start on a drip campaign that will build anticipation.

14. Advertise based on your location.

It doesn’t all have to be digital.

We see this idea reinforced in Forbes, which published:

“Mobile is now the extension of a retailer’s storefront, and tactics using location allow brands to send tailored, personalized messages to the consumer.”

What’s more: Google Ads makes it possible to target ads to specific locations, giving you more access to the foot traffic in your area.

The same is true of Facebook ads.

If you have any type of brick-and-mortar presence, you might want to consider capitalizing on the post-Thanksgiving shopping craze and its inevitable increase in foot traffic.

Cyber Monday Pro Tip: Understand Your ROAS

Understand where your ad dollars are best spent.

If your cost per click (CPC) is going to be enormous on Facebook — which it will be — maybe Cyber Monday is an opportunity to focus on other, higher-return marketing channels (ex. influencer promotions or email campaigns).

– Lianna Patch, Head Puncher, Punchline Copy.

Prepare Yourself for Cyber Monday

So…is your business ready for Cyber Monday?

Let’s run through the checklist:

  • Understand the potential of Cyber Monday. This is the day when mobile and desktop users are at maximum alert as they seek out discounts and holiday sales. Put your business in a position to capitalize.
  • Make sure your site is ready. Your website is your Cyber Monday lifeblood. Run a few tests and prepare your site for an influx of traffic–even if you don’t expect it.
  • Market your business and create incentives for Cyber Monday. It’s not enough to show up for Cyber Monday. Participate. Create the deals and incentives that will drive customers your way.

Once Cyber Monday ends, the holiday shopping season is still in full swing – but the choicest opportunities for online shops have ended.

Don’t let 2018’s Cyber Monday pass without a few clicks going your way.

Want to learn more about Cyber Monday tips? Check out Social Toaster’s guide here.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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Your manual to maximizing holiday success and minimizing loss.