Holiday Ideas & Strategies

Cyber Monday is the Biggest Sales Opportunity in 2019: Here’s How To Conquer the Busiest Day of the Year

Corinne Watson / 7 min read

Cyber Monday is the Biggest Sales Opportunity in 2019: Here’s How To Conquer the Busiest Day of the Year

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Holiday spending topped $1 trillion during the 2018 season. 

The most popular day? Cyber Monday — which brought in over 67.4 million shoppers in the U.S. alone, spending $6 billion during the holiday in 2018.

When compared to Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday still trumps when it comes to spend and participation at a global scale, according to Fundivo.

Mobile shopping has become increasingly important for retailers who want to make a digital splash during the holidays. In 2018, mobile’s share of total digital commerce reached 40% on Thanksgiving, and over 50% of Cyber Monday sales came from mobile devices. 

While some customers still shop brick-and-mortar for the holidays, online stores have seen significant growth over the past few years — and brick-and-mortar traffic actually declined during the 2018 holidays. 

Holiday shopping isn’t strictly limited to digital, however. Some shoppers opt to combine online and offline shopping by adding options like BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) — which has increased in popularity by 65% since 2017.

With a lot of traffic and revenue on the line, it makes sense that retailers start preparing for Cyber Monday during the summer — months before the day takes place. After all, a significant amount of your revenue can be earned in that short 24 hours. 

A lot of companies who have yet to fully embrace their online stores use the holidays as an opportunity to make their first entrance into the digital world. And folks that have been selling online for decades also use it as a chance to reinvigorate their branding and capture new clients. 

Regardless of your company’s involvement in the digital landscape, Cyber Monday represents one of the single most important days of the year for any marketer who earns revenue during the holiday season. 

It’s not just desktop and in-person sales, however. More and more customers are turning to their mobile phones to complete their holiday shopping.

Source: Salesforce

According to Salesforce, during Cyber Week 2018 mobile had 62% of traffic share and 45% of order share. They predict that mobile will account for 68% of traffic and 46% of orders over the entire holiday season.

So where did this ever-important holiday get its roots? 

The History of Cyber Monday

2019 marks the 14th anniversary of the Cyber Monday holiday — born out of a press release conjured up by the National Retail Foundation and published on Shop.org

After seeing that the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2004 was the 12th-biggest online shopping day historically, they realized that the day was perfect for online shopping. Fresh out of the Thanksgiving holiday, shoppers are returning to work (which typically offered faster internet speeds at the time than did at-home connections) and have a bit of spending money in their wallets to prep them for the holidays. 

Publicity about Cyber Monday spread like wildfire, and Cyber Monday 2005 welcomed a 26% increase in online sales compared to the year prior. 

Not only has Cyber Monday become one of the most popular days to shop throughout the entire year, it now also continues to grow year over year.

Image Source: Statista.com

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

Despite having roots in the U.S., now companies from across the globe are creating campaigns around Cyber Monday. 

What Countries Celebrate Cyber Monday?

Since 2005, Cyber Monday has slowly spread across the globe and into the minds of retailers everywhere. 

In Canada, the first official Cyber Monday took place in 2008, and by 2011, around 80% of online retailers in Canada were participating in Cyber Monday. France saw its first Cyber Monday in 2008 as well. 

The United Kingdom introduced Cyber Monday in 2009, and remains one of the countries that sees as much popularity during the holiday as the United States. 

When Is Cyber Monday This Year?

This year, Cyber Monday falls on Monday, December 2, 2019.

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 2020, the holiday kickoff will finish up at the end of November, with Cyber Monday falling on November 30.

Getting Your Site Ready for Cyber Monday

Think of Cyber Monday as a digital rush to your website: you might not be able to see the traffic coming 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.

Cyber Monday Marketing Ideas

There’s no better way to learn how to market your brand during the holidays than to sit down and talk with the experts. 

They’re the ones who have been through this year after year. They’ve seen brands fail and win during the holidays simply due to their strategy around Cyber Monday. 

We sat down with seven experts and got the details: What are some of the best Cyber Monday marketing ideas for 2019? 

1. Consider a philanthropic campaign. 

As sustainability-loving Gen Z enters the age of purchasing power, brands are matching their needs by offering a humanitarian approach to marketing their products.. 

Mike Wittenstein, Founder + Managing Partner of StoryMiners, puts it succinctly: 

“Don’t just sell. Be about something. Do good for others as you sell. That’s one proven way to differentiate your brand.”

Plus, the global spending climate has paved the way for many to call sustainability and eco-friendliness into question as retailers offer 1-day shipping and customers return more packages than ever. 

REI piloted this approach by offering a Black Friday sale that wasn’t actually a sale. Instead, they chose to not offer discounts, shut down their website, and urged shoppers to spend time outside during the spending holiday. 

“I think many of us like the idea of contributing to something larger than ourselves during the holidays, especially during such a consumer-driven, materialistic time of year. So make it easy for your customers to get involved. Get your brand behind a relevant cause and donate a percentage of your Cyber Monday sales to it. Promote the donation event as a win-win for your customers and the cause they’ll be supporting: they’re buying the items they want for themselves and their family, but also supporting a good cause at the same time.” — Connor Griffith, eCommerce Marketing Strategist, Revenue River

2. Focus on more than just the online sale. 

The nature of Cyber Monday is in its name — cyber — and brick-and-mortar stores traditionally don’t participate in the event. 

With that being said, brick-and-mortar continues to be a popular channel for holiday shopping — a 2019 report discovered that 39% of sales during the holiday season were in-store. 

Even more popular are more innovative brick-and-mortar experiences, like pop-ups, department store-like markets such as Neighborhood Goods, and temporary holiday markets. 

3. Consider partnering up with a different brand. 

Brand partnerships make a splash during the holidays every year. Just look at 2018, where sustainable sock brand Bombas partnered up with Sesame Street to create a run of themed socks. 

Source: MentalFloss

4. Think about bundling products together.

“Take the opportunity to introduce your customers to products they wouldn’t have otherwise wanted to purchase. Bundles are great examples because it allows you to market it and generate lasting interest in your product lineup long after Cyber Monday is over.” — David Feng, Co-Founder at Re:amaze.

Consider offering a set of sample products on Cyber Monday. It will give new customers a chance to check out your products, and returning customers a chance to stock up on their favorites. 

5. Offer something very exclusive. 

In 2018, popular shoe brand Allbirds released a limited-edition sneaker for Cyber Monday. 

Source: Allbirds

The result? They sold out — fast.

In fact, Allbirds decided not to offer discounts whatsoever during the holidays — a move that we often see with modern direct-to-consumer brands. 

“The reason that Cyber Monday or any of the other big sales days garner so many sales is that they have offers and deals that you don’t normally get, So, the best thing to do is create a one-day-only deal or offer that is simply too good to refuse.

A limited-time offer creates a sense of urgency, while the discount itself is motivation enough for people to buy. If you do this, there’s actually not much else that you need to do for Cyber Monday or Black Friday or any other sales day.”  — Tessa Wuertz, Director of Marketing, Efelle Creative

6. Think outside the box with gift wrapping and packaging.

With the rise in online retail sales comes the need for brands to innovate in order to make a memorable shopper experience. 

Make your product stand out in a sea of brown boxes by using special packaging. Not only will this delight customers — it’ll also make them more likely to document the unboxing experience on social media, which turns into free advertising for your brand. 

In addition, consider turning towards sustainable packaging for the holidays. Going green will resonate with your environmentally-conscious shoppers and again will be a talking point for shoppers to chat about on social media. 

Source: Bedrock Sandals

“Whether you offer custom complimentary gift wrapping or a gift with purchase, we encourage brands to think outside the box and identify approaches that align with their brand values and customer needs.”Ethan Giffin, Founder & CEO of Groove Commerce

7. Cross-promote other sales. 

There’s a reason why many retailers publish gift guides around the holidays. Sure — it may be that shopping for certain family members or partners may be difficult — but also, it is because there is a lot of power behind being the entity that finds and recommends deals for shoppers. 

“Be a sale curator. Do the legwork for the customer and be the authority for sales that are happening in your industry.  Work with other non-competitive brands to cross-promote each other’s products in these “collection” catalog pages and promote the content to your email list.  Make the deals exclusive if you can — so customers can only get a particular deal from the collection page. 

If you work with 4–5 other brands, you’ll: 1) Help your customers and providing value 2) Position your brand as a tastemaker in your industry, and 3) Get a ton of organic exposure for your products.

To summarize: Work with non-competitive brands to cross-promote special sale collections.  Position your brand as the tastemaker / curator of deals and they’ll keep coming back to you.” — Ryan Shaw, Director of Growth Marketing, Shogun

8. Create a guide of gifts by price-point. 

Holiday shoppers are trained to hunt for the best deals, and they also have a rough estimate of the amount they want to spend on gifts. 

Make it easy for them to discover options within their price-point with a gift guide that segments gifts per price range. 

“Providing consumers with a quick list of gifts for under $50, under $75 and so forth. These quick price point lists can help retain a digital visitor longer on the site and stimulate ideas for consideration.” — Ron Smith, The Digital Outdoorsman

Executive Summary

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 while searching for deals on new purchases. You need to be in a place where you can win those orders
  • Prepare your site technically. Your website is the jumping off point for all Cyber Monday sales. Run a few tests and prepare your site for an increase 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 — you need to 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 2019’s Cyber Monday pass without a few extra sales coming your way.

Want more insights like this?

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    Corinne Watson

    Corinne Watson

    Corinne is a writer and researcher at BigCommerce, where she works directly with agency and technology partners to bring their tools, services and ideas to the commerce industry at large. Before BigCommerce, she was an education specialist at Skills Fund, where she built resources and ran trainings to give students access to life-changing skills. Corinne holds degrees in graphic design and psychology. After college, she transitioned into the marketing and research space through a self-taught mindset – and works to bring the value of that skill and mindset to others. When she’s not writing, she’s volunteering with nonprofit organizations, traveling the world, or digging into a new book.

    View all posts by Corinne Watson
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