With so much attention surrounding Black Friday, it’s easy to forget that 27th November is merely the start of several seasonal trading spikes, the next of which will occur on Cyber Monday.
Taking place on 30th November, Cyber Monday is more challenging for many retailers than Black Friday, because there isn’t the luxury of splitting activity across multiple channels.
The revenue potential is huge, as Cyber Monday is one of the biggest online shopping days of the year in many regions. In the U.S, ecommerce sales grew 15% in 2014 to make it the biggest digital shopping day in history, while Google has noted a significant increase in European searches for the term Cyber Monday during the last few years.
However, those that browse online don’t always continue to buy, which was why my attention was drawn to an interesting Ecommerce News piece on 2014’s Cyber Monday conversion rates across Europe.
Consumer electronics goods saw an upturn in several countries, including France, Germany, Spain and the UK, while clothing and footwear conversion rates declined. In other markets such as Sweden, though, fashion conversions increased.
Russia was another interesting case, as the sale of clothing, footwear and specialty retail items went up – but not above the December monthly average, which generated better conversion rates than the rest of the year.
This is all fairly positive and it shows the opportunity is strong, but retailers are probably more concerned with what they can do to drive more revenue on Cyber Monday 2015.
There is little that businesses can do at this stage in terms of revamping their ecommerce infrastructure to accommodate peaks in online trading, but there’s a lot that can still be done to make or break sales conversion rates on Cyber Monday. For example:
Make sure technical staff understand the holiday trading schedule
As implausible as it may seem, there could well be technical staff that don’t fully appreciate the potential volume of traffic being driven to websites on Cyber Monday. It’s absolutely crucial to make sure that everyone in an organization – not just senior executives – understands the pattern of marketing activity in the build-up to Christmas, and how this will impact ecommerce performance.
Many retailers also choose to outsource web hosting or IT support to a third party; in this case it’s even more important that their account handlers are educated about what to expect.
Learn the lessons of Black Friday – quickly
Chances are, retailers participating in Cyber Monday will also be getting involved in Black Friday. This creates a valuable opportunity to see how their ecommerce platform withstands the first burst of sales activity.
If the website holds up under pressure – great! If it doesn’t, they have an opportunity to fix any system glitches or increase capacity before 30th November.
React in real-time to technical difficulties
However much retailers prepare for flash promotions, inevitably things won’t go to plan. Therefore, it’s vital to monitor ecommerce systems, and identify/deal with emerging faults.
Don’t stand down resources after Black Friday; make sure that online activity is being closely scrutinized right through the long weekend and into the following week. It’s advisable to keep a close guard of activity post-Cyber Monday too, as early promotions tend to kick start Christmas trading as a whole.
If something goes wrong, apologize
If last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday events taught retail anything, it’s that even mighty businesses can fall down. It’s a very frustrating experience for customers, being promised rock-bottom bargains and then not having access to these limited edition deals.
Ideally, ecommerce businesses should be able to deliver to consumer expectations every single day. However, if something does go awry, damage can be assuaged by simply apologizing and sending shoppers some sort of compensation, such as a discount voucher for future purchases.