Readying your retail store for the holiday rush?
You’ve probably spent countless hours preparing your products, developing deals and promotions, and crafting the ultimate customer experience for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday — but don’t forget the finale of one of the busiest retail weekends of the year.
Here are five key ways you can prepare your business for Cyber Monday.
When is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday always falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving, part of the Black Friday weekend full of significant sales and promotions — and it’s become increasingly popular as e-commerce has become more prevalent.
Customers are prepared for these sales, marking the date on their calendars — and you should, too. This year, it’s November 28.
Stock up on Bestsellers
Selling out of a product is great, but you don’t want to do it too soon — especially on one of the busiest shopping days. You want to turn the biggest profit possible, so track your sales history to know what your bestsellers are and stock your shelves with them.
Buyers have been waiting all year to make some of these purchases, and you want to keep them happy. If you run an apparel store, stock up on seasonal sweaters. If you sell technology (like computers), make sure you have the latest model stocked.
Of course, inventory management can be tedious. Invest in a point of sale (POS) system with an e-commerce integration and an auto ranking feature that tracks your popular and slow-moving products — keeping up with demand will be much easier, and you can spend more time providing excellent online customer service.
Business owners know the importance of tracking shopping habits to make sure they’re selling the right products for their buyers — which will keep them coming back to your business, whether online or in-store.
Test Your Tech
Practice makes perfect.
Perform a technology test-run before the big day. Run technical tests, approve any updates, and ensure that your website and POS system are fully supported and running smoothly. (And if you’re planning to take advantage of social selling, your social media channels, too.)
Your tech may be incredibly efficient on a day-to-day basis, but be prepared for a significant increase in traffic — make sure it can handle all of the sales you’ll be making. And there are the everyday hiccups that always need attention.
Work with your e-commerce and point of sale providers to ensure that everything is ready to go, and that you have the support of customer success and service — they should be able to help you on the day, but it’s always best to prepare beforehand.
Remember to also dedicate a person (or entire team) to handling all things technology day-of within your business — all hands should be on deck.
Your technology puts the cyber in Cyber Monday — its efficiency should be a priority.
Amp up Your Marketing Efforts
Cyber Monday is a marketing tactic itself, created back in the early 2000s to increase online sales — and it seems to have worked. Most people are aware of the promotions and sales that happen the Monday after Thanksgiving, and in fact, many wait all year to make purchases on this day.
Take note of this existing awareness and amp it up. Even as a small to medium-sized business, marketing is key to bringing in customers — if not more so than businesses with a larger online presence.
Create excitement and build momentum leading up to the big day. Get the word out, and let your customers know of the upcoming deals in advance — try everything from mystery discounts to buy-one-get-one deals to free gifts with purchase.
If you do a lot of business in-store, make sure your Cyber Monday promotions are displayed throughout the store. Put up posters, or place flyers in your shoppers’ bags — try including a coupon that can only be used online, on the day.
Be sure to highlight your positive reviews, too. Small businesses rely heavily on word-of-mouth referrals, so it’s smart to use these as marketing material. Remember to continue encouraging customers to leave reviews (which is even easier online) — and if you pull off a stellar Cyber Monday, they’ll have plenty of wonderful things to say about your business.
Cater Your Retail Customer Experience
The beauty of a small business is its ability to personalize the customer experience — it’s why many buyers choose to spend their money with you in the first place.
Live up to these expectations, and make sure you’re ready for everyone. You’ve tested your technology, and it’s ready to go. Now, prepare your customer service for the increase in online traffic. If your customers have questions, have a dedicated person or team ready to answer them, whether that be by phone or email.
If you have an active social media presence, keep up with any questions or concerns popping up there, too. Not only will you directly help the customer asking the question, others with the same concern can more easily find the answer without you having to expend more resources than is necessary — plus, the visibility will prove your commitment to outstanding customer service, which could lead to potential customers becoming real, and even loyal, customers.
When you do get these customers, be sure to have a customer loyalty program up and running to reward them. Gathering their contact information at online checkout simplifies this process, and you’ll be able to send them exclusive offers throughout the holiday season, and beyond.
Bring Your Buyers In-Store
Cyber Monday is all about the ease of online shopping, but don’t miss an opportunity to get your customers in-store. Face-to-face interaction is key in developing the relationships that will keep buyers coming back.
If you’ve set up shop online, consider a BOPUS (buy-online-pickup-in-store) option. Your customers can purchase items through your website, and then come into your store or drive by curbside to receive them. Really, this is the best of both worlds — the freedom and convenience of browsing products from their living room sofa, without having to wait on shipping delays and delivery truck drivers.
As the business owner, take advantage of this time. If it’s a curbside pickup, personalize the experience by giving them their products yourself — and be sure to add a warm “thank you.”
You can do the same for those that actually come into your store, but make the most of this opportunity, too. Promote big deals on small items, and place them at the front of the store — your customer might not have thought to “add to cart” online, but seeing a product in person could be the extra push they need to make a purchase. They’re even more likely to add on to their purchase if you’ve already given them a discount for choosing the BOPUS option — plus, they’ve already avoided shipping charges, so they might be willing to spend some extra cash.
The popularity of online shopping doesn’t mean you can no longer get your customers in your store. In some ways, it might even help you do so.
Why You Should Start Preparing Your Retail Business for Cyber Monday
The busiest shopping season is right around the corner, and to get the most bang for your buck, you should start preparing now. This gives you plenty of time to set up shop and set goals so you can track your progress during and after the rush.
Looking for more tips on how to make the most of the upcoming season? Check out our Retailers' Guide to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and the Holiday Season.
And to learn more about the perfect POS solution to get you through the holidays, schedule a demo with one of our specialists today!