Top 6 Marketing Survival Tips for Cyber Monday

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Jess-Stephens-headshotBy Jess Stephens, CMO, Smartfocus

Black Friday and Cyber Monday — traditionally among the busiest shopping days of the year — are upon us. But as usual, there’s anxiety in the air for marketing departments, since the kickoff of the holiday shopping rush invariably brings a few surprises and may reveal deficiencies marketers wish they’d spotted sooner. These last minute tips can help you and your team maximize your sales potential this year:

  1. Ensure you have success metrics in place. Too often, marketing teams will have promotions lined up for the holiday sales season but lack solid performance objectives. It’s not too late to set sales goals (e.g. a 60% increase in sales for a particular product) and calculate the unit sales needed to reach that objective. This will allow you to more effectively tweak promotions in real-time to drive sales and enable effective inventory management during the promotion. Don’t forget to keep tabs on inventory levels to avoid disappointing customers when stock runs out.
  1. Make sure you’re prepared for the data tsunami. Now is the time to do a last minute check to make sure your CRM system and insights solution is up to the task of handling huge amounts of data. It’s also essential to ensure you’re prepared to act on the data that comes pouring in, that you’re ready to gain valuable insights into existing and new customers. The goal is to make sure existing customer purchase more and new customers stick with you after the holidays are over. It’s also important to avoid site issues that can occur when a website is swamped with incoming traffic.
  1. Give customers a heads-up. Don’t assume regular customers will visit during the holidays — reach out to them with relevant email communications. Last year, email marketing brought in nearly a quarter of all Cyber Monday sales, so send a teaser to let customers know what’s coming. Include countdown clocks to help build a sense of urgency. Also consider a branded Black Friday / Cyber Monday hashtag so customers can find you on social media, and give customers a way to register for updates, which lets you gather critical data for future outreach campaigns.
  1. Don’t degrade site usability with aggressive sales pitches. Even ecommerce sites that maintain a minimalist, uncluttered look for most of the year often yield to the temptation to deploy busy sales banners and garish popups during the holiday season. That’s usually a mistake since it degrades the user experience at the end of the year, just as it does any other time. It’s okay to add promotional content — landing pages are a great idea since they help you track ROI — but make sure you keep things simple and don’t interfere with navigation.
  1. Capitalize on mobile traffic. Mobile sales are making up an ever-larger portion of total online sales each year — growing at more than 15% annually. That’s why it’s essential to optimize your site for mobile customers. Take a look at your mobile site and make sure navigation is easy across all device types, including Android and iOS phones and tablets. Remember that even the smallest delays in page loading can directly lead to sales decreases, so make sure you’ve thoroughly tested your site to ensure it loads quickly.
  1. State your returns and exchanges policy clearly. Some merchants have special return and exchange policies that are in effect only during the holidays, when they run special promotions and offer deep discounts on popular items. If that’s you, it’s important to communicate your policies clearly to existing and new customers alike to avoid unpleasant surprises. Simply adding a return and exchange policy icon to your site that customers can click for the details on Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases is a good idea and will make for a happier customer.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are make-or-break events for many retailers and often generate a significant share of annual profits, so it’s understandable if you and your team are experiencing a little anxiety. But being prepared is the best defense. With these tips in mind, you can survive — and thrive! — during the upcoming holiday rush.

 About the Author: Jess brings an invaluable breadth of marketing and leadership experience to SmartFocus. With an unashamedly enthusiastic approach to data, she knows all about the huge impact disruptive technology has in bringing brands closer to their consumers. As the Chief Marketing Officer, Jess is responsible for bringing SmartFocus’ brand to life and telling our unique story globally. Prior to joining SmartFocus, Jess was the Founder and Director at TagPoints and held senior leadership roles at MoneySupermarket Local Deals, Local Daily Deals and Filofax. 

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