With Cyber Monday fast approaching, there is never a better time to finish those last-minute preparations for your store. If you haven't already, now would be a good time to spend a couple of days reviewing your site in anticipation for what lies ahead. What you do before Cyber Monday can have a huge impact on not just your sales during Cyber Monday, but what happens after the big day. Proper planning can mean the difference between happy customers and frustrated ones that will go elsewhere.
1. Communicate with your customers
It's still not too late to tell your customers what your store offerings are. Make sure you let them know by sending emails and posting on Facebook and Twitter. If you don't have a way to send emails, you are missing out big time. Easy tools to get started include MailChimp and Constant Contact. Additionally, Constant Contact provides coaching and training for getting the most from the emails that you send.
2. Prepare for sellouts
Running out of products doesn't have to mean losing a sale. Use your customers' interest as an opportunity to give suggestions about similar products to the one that is out of stock. Although you can merchandise manually, services like Nosto can also help automate the process and give great suggestions, too. Additionally, you can capture a customer's email when a product is out of stock and let them know when will be available. Capturing emails is a great way to gauge interest in a particular product. Sold out products can also create a sense of urgency with potential new buyers so if you have some certain products that always sell out quickly, consider including that detail as a reminder for buyers.
3. "Give 'em coupons!"
People love coupons, especially online. According to Savings.com, online coupons are redeemed 13 percent of the time, compared to only one percent of the time with newspaper coupons. Make it easy for customers. Create a coupon page or even a dedicated landing page for your visitors, which lists the currently available coupons. This can not only help long-term with SEO, but it can make a big difference against competitors who don't offer an easy-to-reach coupon code for their site.
4. Check your site for problems
Site problems don't have to be visible to customers. Take a few minutes to check your site for issues like slow loading pages and bad links that could cause frustration. Optimization companies like Yottaa help by offering a free site assessment. Once you've completed the assessment, they can not only tell you what is wrong, but they can also assist with remedying those problems.
5. Measure your results
Knowing your sales numbers is great, but if you haven't already set up an analytics package, then now would be a great time. Having analytics means knowing not just what your customers are doing, but where they are coming from and where they bail out. It can even tell you where your most valuable customers are coming from. Great starting places that offer free tools include Google Analytics and Piwik. More powerful platforms like KISSmetrics, which offers a free trial, can also give great insight on how people use your site and, more importantly, how you can improve.
6. Prepare for any problems
Before your rush of visitors, make sure you know who to call if problems arise. This includes getting phone numbers, don't bother with emails, for your hosting company and your site's support management team. You can help lessen the effects of site problems by keeping calm, contacting the proper people and communicating with your customers during this time.
7. Prepare for next year
Make notes and start putting reminders in your calendar for next year. Consider the bigger features or fixes that you can create to make each year better than the one before. Start having conversations now with your development and marketing teams. Some elements like SEO require more time and a financial investment to see accurate, measurable gains. There is no better time than the present to get the ball rolling. Don't wait. Act now!
Nick is an avid technologist and spends a lot of his time talking to people about how to make great sites. Having cut his commerce teeth on Magento, Nick now spends a lot of his time evangelizing Drupal Commerce as a Technical Sales Engineer. When not in front of a computer, he enjoys reading, laser tag and burgers with his wife and kids.