Cyber Monday: The ultimate guide for retailers

As we move into autumn, no doubt businesses across the country are hard at work preparing for the build-up to Christmas and all the retailing challenges that arrive alongside it. 

But before you start adding holly and snowflakes to your website banners, remember that there is another major shopping holiday approaching that you should be preparing for.

On the Monday following the American holiday of Thanksgiving (this year it falls on Monday November 30), retailers slash their prices and run promotions to boost online sales. 

Although it originally started in the United States in addition to Black Friday, which takes place three days earlier, Cyber Monday has grown and expanded to reach across the world, including the UK.

Why get on board with Cyber Monday?

According to IMRG, it is estimated that shoppers spent approximately ?720m on Cyber Monday last year. If that doesn?t grab your attention and persuade you to get involved, then I’m not sure what else to tell you.

A new report from the Office for National Statistics found that more and more people are turning to the internet for the majority of their shopping. The report showed that the number of men purchasing online rose from 57 per cent to 77 per cent between 2008 and 2015, and the number of women increased from 49 per cent to 75 per cent in the same time period.

Even more interestingly, the ONS report revealed that in 2014, the month with the highest level of online retail sales as a proportion of all retailing was November with 14 per cent, compared to December which had 13 per cent. This is no doubt due to the increased purchasing that takes place prior to Christmas, and retailers should capitalise on the holiday rush by getting on board with Cyber Monday.

For businesses of any kind, whether you specialise in home furnishings or clothes, Cyber Monday can be a tremendous opportunity to increase sales. Whether this is your first Cyber Monday or you?re looking to improve on last year, follow our top five tips to attract visitors and maximise your sales.

(1) Can you handle the traffic?

This is more frustrating from a customer?s point of view, but when your website isn?t able to handle the traffic, your visitors will backtrack and look elsewhere. Not only may they not make a purchase on Cyber Monday, but a slow or non-existent website may cause people to browse away from your store and never return. Consumers don?t forget a bad user experience!

Look into the possibility of bigger and better servers or a more comprehensive cloud storage solution that will be able to handle the increased traffic. Although the increased investment may not seem worth it at the time, the possibility of lost revenue due to a slow website is a nightmare for retailers.

(2) Are you mobile-ready?

According to a research report from Criteo in June 2015, 34 per cent of purchases made worldwide and nearly half made in the UK were conducted on a mobile phone or a tablet device. The report also stated that the popularity of mobile phones for purchases is expected to grow even further to 40 per cent across the world by the end of 2015.

Customers want to have more flexibility when it comes to their shopping, in other words, they want to be able to spend their money on their own terms. Mobile shopping allows them to shop on the go. They can access e-commerce websites directly from their social media, and many are able to compare prices easily. So don?t underestimate the value of ensuring that your website is well-designed, fast and optimised for easy mobile purchases.

Find out how to plan in advance and ensure that your business can meet the Cyber Monday demand ? continue reading on page two…

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