Your last minute Cyber Monday checklist

If you’re in the ecommerce game, you probably don’t need anyone reminding you just how important Cyber Monday is. But in case you do, here are a few reasons you should really, really try and maximize your sales.

  • It’s the largest ecommerce shopping day of the year—and by a pretty significant margin. In 2013, there were 16% more online sales on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday, which has long been considered the most important shopping day of the year.

blackfriday

(Source)

  • Cyber Monday just keeps growing and growing. In 2014 there were over $2 billion in sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving. In 2015, that number jumped to over $3 billion.
  • As dollars continue to shift online, we can expect this trend to continue. Cyber Monday sales for 2016 are expected to be the largest yet at $3.36 billion!

And because of those big numbers, you need to make sure your store is ready to capture as much business as possible. While you should ideally be prepping weeks, if not months in advance, it’s still not too late make the most of Cyber Monday.

Here is our last minute checklist (that you can take care of in just one day) to make sure your store has its best Cyber Monday yet:

1. Offer what your customers care about (hint: it isn’t free shipping)

Although the stereotypical online shopper lives and dies for free shipping, this isn’t actually the case. In a Granify study of 5 ecommerce industries (Apparel, Digital Goods, Jewelry & Accessories, Health, and Home Improvement), consumers rated shipping costs in exactly none of those industries!

What’s more important to them?

Return Policy written on a wooden cube in a office desk

Your Return Policy is more important in 3 (Apparel, Jewelry, Home Improvement) of the 5 industries and your price is more important in the others. Depending on what you sell, that’s where you need to be competing.

The move: Make your return policy generous and clear. Make it a part of your pitches, your landing pages—especially if you’re selling items where size & fit are important.

2. You should still offer free shipping

free-shipping

Here’s the thing: even if free shipping isn’t a top-of-the-line concern for your customers, they still care about it. According to Ivesp, 31.5% of shoppers buy because of free shipping.

And according to the marketing gurus at Kissmetrics, offering free shipping (when done right) can lead to a net profit increase of up to 30%. (Not just a conversion increase, mind you.)

The move: Offer free shipping, unless you’ll lose money by doing so (shipping bedframes or couches or other super heavy items, for example) Almost all of your competitors are going to be offering some form of free shipping on Cyber Monday. What you don’t want is to stand out for the wrong reasons — by not offering free shipping. This could be a blocker when so many other sites are offering free shipping.

3. Don’t clutter up your landing page

Chances are, you’re sending offers to your mailing list and directing them to a landing page—or at least a modal window on your homepage. This is smart. It draws eyeballs to your best offers, your best prices, and your best products.

Unfortunately, during the holiday season that officially kicks off on Black Friday, many ecommerce stores don’t get razor sharp about what to put on these landing pages, and overdo the offers. Here’s what a busy page looks like:

sears-landing-page

We know, we know. It’s your most important time of the year and you probably have a lot of things on sale. You want to let people know about it. But unless your entire store is discounted (which some places do), your landing page/modal doesn’t have room for all of it. In fact, offering too many products may hurt your sales.

The move: If you sell many different types of products, you can segment your landing pages to advertise different offers to your different customers. If you’re mostly selling one type of item, you should stick to as few offers as possible—ideally fewer than 4. Here’s what a good landing page looks like:

And if you’re worried about customers not knowing about all your Cyber Monday offers, remember that you can always cross-sell once they’re on your site!

4. Make sure your site can handle the traffic

Here’s a fact that should terrify you: 58% of people won’t come back to a company’s website if they experience errors. Couple that with the fact that 86% of ecommerce companies experienced site downtime during the 2012 holiday season and we’re talking about a lot of lost revenue.

The move: Obviously, you don’t want this to happen to you, which means that you need to take a look at your hosting plan and traffic numbers from last Cyber Monday. Given that we can expect there to be even more traffic than last year, you should see if your site can handle a 15% traffic increase over last year’s Black Monday. If your plan covers that, you don’t have to do anything. If it can’t—or even if it’ll be tight, strongly consider an upgrade.

5. Prevent holiday fraud by securing your site

cyber-monday-fraudView Full Infographic

Now, more than ever, people are making fraudulent orders using stolen credit cards, especially during the busy holiday season. In the next 3 years, online retail fraud is expected to increase by 106%! Some common themes to look out for in fraudulent orders are express shipping and international transactions. Often times, your payment gateway will notify you if an order looks fishy. Pay attention to this before you ship out the product.  

The move: Look into getting a security service for your site if you don’t have one already. With McAfee SECURE Pro you can not only protect your customers from getting their identity stolen (which is what leads to fraudulent credit card purchases) but you can also protect your site by getting weekly scans that will notify you if phishing, malware, or malicious activities are detected on your site. Be proactive about preventing fraud. Believe us, this is not something you want to be dealing with during your busiest time of year.

Wrapping up

The best part about this checklist is it doesn’t take a whole lot to implement these changes—no site redesign, no SEO dark arts. This is about funneling your customers to the things they want, and offering them the right incentives to finish the deal. After all, it’s Cyber Monday. It’s a numbers game. Make sure you’re hitting yours.