Since the 1950s, the day after Thanksgiving has marked the onset of Christmas shopping. A frenzy of customers prowls through stores like a pride of hungry lions chasing a wounded antelope. Sussex County residents know the day as well as anyone, hitting the outlets at the stroke of midnight.
Now old Black Friday has a new partner. “Cyber Monday” has become the biggest online shopping day of the year. In 2011, comScore estimated the Monday after Thanksgiving saw $1.25 billion in total sales. Expect 2012 to be even bigger. If you want a piece of that holiday pie, make sure that you are well prepared before the calendar hits Nov. 26.
What is my customer experience?
Put on your customer shoes and evaluate your online capabilities. What happens when customers visit your website? Can they buy products or services directly from the site?
Use location to your advantage. Offer a Cyber Monday coupon that customers can redeem at your store. Give customers incentive to reserve products online and pick them up in the store before Christmas.
Maybe you already have online holiday deals in place, but do people know about them? Think about using a site like Yelp, where customers can search for daily deals. Hopefully, you will also have a big crowd on Black Friday. Let shoppers know that the fun doesn’t stop when the weekend ends. Decorate the walls with signs about Cyber Monday deals.
Prepare for I.T. battle.
Customers go online using an array of devices. Is your site mobile and tablet-ready? Your website may look good on desktops and laptops, but don’t assume the same for all other devices. In 2012, smartphones will influence $159 billion worth of sales, according to Marketing Land. Make sure this visit is painless. Reach out to a web developer. If your site is awkward on tablets and mobile, or maybe not user-friendly at all, ask for an estimate to improve it.
Cyber Monday brings increased web traffic, which could result in website downtime. Improve your capacity in advance. Consider putting a CDN (content distribution network) in place to handle periods of increased traffic. Investing in your web capabilities beforehand means fewer headaches and more sales once holiday shopping officially opens.