People love holiday shopping so much, we’ve created shopping holidays. While Black Friday has long held the title of king among shopping holidays, on November 26, Cyber Monday might take its place as the most profitable day for retailers in 2018.

Customers spent a total of $3.45 billion on Cyber Monday in 2017. That’s nearly an entire billion dollars more than the $2.6 billion spent in 2016. According to the National Retail Federation, customers are expected to spend upwards of another billion more, following the positive trend as faith in the booming economy continues to increase!

“How Do I Get My Business in On That?”

This is the question you should be asking yourself now – while you still have time to answer it.

Cyber Monday is fast approaching. But if you start preparing now, there will be plenty of time to stock up on holiday inventory, create an amazing ecommerce experience for your customers, promote your products and sales, and capitalize on what could be your single most profitable day of the year!

Top 10 Ways to Prepare Your Store for Cyber Monday 2018

  1. Ensure Your Website Can Handle Heavy Traffic: If you prepare the right way, you’re going to have a massive amount of customers crawling all over your website on Cyber Monday. You better make sure your website has the strength to handle the heavy traffic before they do. There’s nothing more off-putting and sale-killing than a site that crashes and burns when there’s too-many people on your website at once. A simple fix involves increasing your bandwidth to allow for a greater amount of data to flow between your website and your customers – which in turn also increases site speed, and enhances user experience.Does the cost of increasing your bandwidth scare you? It shouldn’t. This is a temporary cost that will easily pay itself off many, many times over with the sales you make from Cyber Monday.
  2. Evaluate Your Website’s Strengths and Weaknesses: Before you start planning ahead in creating new customer experiences for Cyber Monday, you first have to know what already does and doesn’t work on your company’s site. What have your customers been complaining about? What’s your biggest challenges dealing with customers through your website? Take some time to seriously evaluate the ways in which your website can streamline both you and your customer’s online experiences, simplify the transaction process, and create a more pleasant shopping experience for your customers. Resolving these issues with new solutions doesn’t require a new full-time web developer or programmer hire. Business owners usually just commission a freelance programmer to work with them throughout the duration of the few projects that need accomplishing.
  3. Don’t Cheap Out on Your Return Policy: ‘Tis the season to avoid pissing off your customers by any means necessary. The more at-ease your customers are while shopping, and the more secure they feel in making any purchasing decision, the more likely they will be to give you their money. Something like a frustrating return policy is sure to turn away already-stressed and high-strung holiday shoppers. So when it comes to Cyber Monday, don’t cheap out on such things like return policies, and instead think of ways to make your customers’ shopping experiences feel as safe and secure as possible.
  4. Start Showcasing Your Cyber Monday Products: That doesn’t mean your entire line of products. Just the ones you’re exclusively selling for Cyber Monday, and/or the ones you’re offering exclusive deals for. For the next 3 or for months, these are the only products that matter. Speaking of which – have you created a spreadsheet of exactly when each item will go on sale, and when each sale will end? Doing so earlier can make a world of difference by helping you, your employees and your customers avoid confusion, and build a more prepared and effective marketing strategy for each individual sale in advance.
  5. Start Promoting Your Sales: You can’t count on people to just find out about your Cyber Monday sales through word of mouth alone. These days, standing out on shopping holidays like CM takes a ton of unique promotion! Social media posts. Email blasts. Online advertising. In-store advertising and decorations. Direct mail pieces. ALL of these should be utilized to maximize awareness of your Cyber Monday specials! So go get yourself a freelance graphic designer, a temporary copywriter, or start coming up with the content yourself that you need to promote. The key is – you have to start early! Creating effective advertising can take a ton of time. You need to research what your competitors are doing, and what your customers are looking for this holiday season. You also need to plan out exactly what kinds of sales you’ll be offering, and what kinds of limited-edition holiday products you’ll be making and/or selling. Once you’ve got that figured out, you need to start thinking of unique and catchy ways of grabbing your customers’ attention. This is trickier than it sounds. Instead of finding the time to do it yourself, get a freelance writer to do it for you!
  6. Remember, People Actually Read Physical Mail During the Holiday Season: It’s a fact: more people read through their mail during the holidays than any other time of the year. Most are looking for letters from friends and family members. While they’re filtering through their mail, give them something even more exciting and cheery than their own loved ones can ever provide – a coupon or special offer for your Cyber Monday Sale! Even if direct mailing isn’t a part of your routine marketing strategy or budget, this is the time to seriously consider making an exception. ‘Tis the season!
  7. Instill a World-Ending Fear of Missing Out: Effective marketing and advertising for Cyber Monday is all about drilling as much fear and dread at the mere thought of missing out on your life-changing deals. Create a countdown timer on your website that lets people know how much time is left until your deals start… and then when they’ll end! Fill your ad creatives with exclamations like “DON’T MISS OUT!” and “CYBER MONDAY-ONLY SALE!” and “CYBER MONDAY EDITION-LIMITED IN STOCK!” (Even/especially if they’re easy to re-stock).  Make your customers feel as though missing out on your deals would be a tragic mistake, and spark a sense of anxiety that they can only get rid of by purchasing your products.
  8. Consider The Inventory Needed for Extra Demand:  It’s basic economics. More demand=more inventory=more staff to manage/track/create said inventory. Do you have the staff and the inventory to keep up with crazy Cyber Monday demand? Even the largest retail behemoths underestimate the amount of inventory they need to meet Cyber Monday demand, and fail to deliver to hundreds of thousands of potential customers as a result.Selling out of your inventory too-early is one of the biggest holiday blunders retailers face. On one hand, it makes sense – over paying for extra inventory that doesn’t sell can be an equally scary thing to selling out early, and missing selling to thousands of customers. On the other hand, with the right source of financing, you can ensure that you only ever pay for inventory that you know you’ll be able to use. These financing options include a business line of credit, which allows for immediate spontaneous purchases of any amount needed. That means no more scrambling for cash in order to re-stock on inventory on time, and no more worrying about purchasing more than you need to!
  9. Create New Email Campaigns for Targeted Customer Actions: Did you know that according to recent reports, over 75% of all online shopping carts go abandoned during Cyber Monday? And that’s based on data taken from some of the biggest retail chains in existence. Imagine how many customers they could’ve retained, and how many millions they could’ve earned in one day with a simple email designed to retain these customers, and bring them back to their site? It doesn’t take much to create an email campaign for targeted events like this. By setting them up, you have the chance to make upwards of 75% more than you would have if you didn’t by getting another chance at reaching flighty customers – at no extra cost! Remember, email is your cheapest channel of advertising. Use it to its full potential!
  10. Have a Plan B for Every Situation: When it comes to Cyber Monday, every retail store owner should expect the best, but prepare for the worst. Not having a contingency plan for every possible negative scenario could leave you grasping at straws with not enough time to fix something drastic. Ask yourself:”How reliable is my shipping company?”
    “How reliable is my customer service crew?”
    “What if my website crashes?”
    “How can I increase my shipping and customer service speed and efficiency?”You can’t fix challenges like the ones listed above in an hour or two. However, you can plan ahead to easily make a change of course in the case that such a scenario pops up!

You Don’t Have to Take on Cyber Monday Alone!

Always know that if you get overwhelmed preparing for Cyber Monday, and you feel as though there’s not enough time to accomplish what you planned on doing, you’re not alone!

The team at National is always ready to back you up with any needs you might have, from capital funding, to boosting your marketing and advertising, to setting up and developing a website for your business! We’re always just a phone call away at (877) 482-3008!

If you would like to apply for the capital you need in order to make your Cyber Monday dreams a reality, fill out this 60-second application online to receive a small business loan or line of credit in as little as 24 hours!