How to Prepare Your Ecommerce Site for Cyber Monday

No matter what type of products you sell, Cyber Monday presents ample opportunities for you to put your business in front of willing customers. Every ecommerce site should be prepared for the onslaught of customers looking for a post-Black Friday sale. The numbers don’t lie: in 2016, Cyber Monday saw the most single-day sales in ecommerce history, with $3.45 billion. This number was a 12.1% increase from the year before, and analysts predict it will increase again in 2017.

With so much potential, it’s important for ecommerce owners to get their sites ready. The better prepared you are, the less overwhelmed you’ll feel. These Cyber Monday best practices will help ensure your holiday season goes smoothly for both you and your customers.

Cyber Monday

Organize Your Sales

Before you start to beautify your site and market your Cyber Monday sales, you should organize your stock and make calculated decisions about what should go on sale and at what discounted price. A wrong move here could easily do more harm than good. Be careful not to price too low on your products. Your pricing strategy should consider margins that maintain a profit, rather than trying to be the lowest-priced product on the Web.

You’ll also need to double check your inventory and be sure you have enough stock to fulfill orders; it’s better to have too much product than not have enough. You may need to speak with your supplier prior, and if you ship your product yourself, you’ll need to stock up on shipping supplies as well. Some businesses will temporarily hire additional staff to handle the increase in sales.

Inform Customers Early

Getting the word out about your Cyber Monday deals is imperative. This involves on-page copy that details your sales, PPC ads, social media outreach, and thorough email marketing. Planning your ads early helps you take the time you need to properly create and budget for your campaign, as some keywords become higher priced during competitive seasons.

Don’t forget about social platforms, either. Facebook advertising is particularly effective and highly targeted. In fact, one study found that Facebook clickthrough rates were up to 66% on Black Friday, giving you ample opportunity to reach your market. And depending on your niche, you should consider advertising on other platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. Email marketing campaigns also account for roughly a quarter of site traffic during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so be sure not to leave it out of your overall holiday weekend strategy.

Get Creative

Your ecommerce site should reflect the holiday sale, and design plays a big role in making that possible. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be a major redesign. A few graphics and snappy visuals should do the trick. Change your main header image to show visitors right away that there’s a sale happening. Your most important sales information should be displayed on the homepage. You might choose to purchase a temporary holiday theme for your site to fully embody the spirit of the holidays. You can also hire a freelance graphic designer or graphic design agency for banners and other images.

Ecommerce transaction

Prepare Your Site

Many aspects of your site need to be in order in preparation for Cyber Monday. To prepare for the worst-case scenario, you should have backups in place. This means you should have a developer or support team on hand to quickly handle any issues that may arise.

For example, DDoS attacks are popular during big retail events, so security is crucial here. Furthermore, your site needs to be ready to handle a surge in traffic. This may seem like a simple item to check off on your to-do list, but even big-box retailers have experienced major issues in this area.

In 2014, Best Buy experienced three hours of downtime during Black Friday, and lost thousands of dollars in the process. Your site should be able to handle a traffic spike. Depending on your hosting plan, you may need to reach out to your provider to discuss how a surge in traffic would impact your status. For preliminary information on how much your website can handle, use sites like Load Impact to test server load capacity.

Lastly, your website should be responsive and mobile-friendly. According to an IBM report, mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic for the first time in 2014, in anticipation of black Friday. And slightly over 26% of Cyber Monday sales came from a mobile device. To ensure you don’t miss out on any of those sales, you should test your mobile-readiness ahead of time.