How to Prep Your Ecommerce Site for Cyber Monday

Matthew Smokowski

Lead PPC Strategist

Online retailers wait all year long for this time of the year - and it’s finally here! Cyber Monday strategically follows the Thanksgiving holiday and provides an excellent opportunity for ecommerce stores to further capitalize on the sales, deals and promotions from Black Friday.

With all of this activity comes a huge spike in visitors that you may not be ready for. Whether it’s minor downtime or inaccurate inventory, the smallest detail can negatively impact a customer’s experience with your company and affect your site’s revenue.

Are You ‘Cyber Monday’ Ready?

Hopefully you’ve been doing some planning all along and are in good shape for Cyber Monday. But if you still have some details to work out before the big shopping day arrives, this article will help you get things in order.

Let’s turn your ecommerce site into a Cyber Monday star.

Anticipate the Traffic

It’s Cyber Monday. Expect to have an influx of traffic. Speak with your hosting provider to determine what your site can handle, and create a backup plan if you do run into problems. If people can’t get to your site, they can’t complete their purchase and will probably head over to a competitor of yours.

Optimize Page Load Times

We know how tempting it is to show shoppers your products and how amazing they are, but you need to be extremely selective with the content on your pages. Too many images can severely slow down your page load times, frustrating visitors and bouncing them off your site. Focus on providing users with a better, faster shopping experience and cut back on data.

Plan Your Promotions

It’s a smart idea to map out your promotions for Cyber Monday so that you know what you can promise your customers. Will you be giving away significant discounts? Free items with a purchase? Free shipping?

Create a promotional calendar that outlines the times and dates that you plan to update the graphics and banners on your site, the times and dates of when you will send out emails and also the start and stop dates of your ads.

Remember, creating a promotional calendar doesn’t have to be difficult. Use Google Calendar or a printed calendar - the goal is to get your promotions set in stone so you have something for customers to look forward to.

Create Landing Pages

Once you have your promotions in place, you can begin creating landing pages for them. The purpose of your landing page is to increase conversions, so consider building separate landing pages for your ads and your emails.

Walmart has a live Cyber Monday landing page up all year round and it’s very successful, so you don’t have to take the page down just because Cyber Monday passes. Update it with new products and a countdown for the following year. Just a thought!

Fine Tune Your Returns Policy

Another important step to prep your ecommerce site is to go through your returns policy and ensure that it is easy to understand, fair to customers and something that you can stick to. Returning an item should be hassle free for shoppers, but if you predict challenges (i.e., custom made products, edibles), make sure it’s posted clearly in your returns policy.

Decide on Payment Options

Now is also a good time to consider other payment options that you might want to accept. If you traditionally only accept Visa and MasterCard, think about expanding your payment options to PayPal and Bitcoin. These payment options are easy to switch to and can earn you some extra conversions.

Identify Your Ad Channels

Finally, decide which advertising channels you want to focus on. There are so many channels out there, your campaigns can become scattered if you don’t choose a focal point. The channels that you should direct your attention toward include blogging, email marketing, PPC, social media and Facebook ads. These channels work together to create a strong campaign for Cyber Monday, and you can expect that you will reach a vast majority of your customers.

Tracking and Measuring Your Efforts

Marketing is only part of the equation. You also need to track your efforts so that you can determine how successful your campaigns are. This won’t be the last Cyber Monday, after all, so you can learn a lot about this year’s campaigns and how to make next year’s even better!

If you don’t already have Google Analytics or another analytics program set up, now is the time to do so. Analytics software tracks your progress so that you can see what’s working and what’s not throughout your campaign.

To make tracking easier, learn how to use campaign specific tracking, which is where you assign a unique, trackable link (also called a UTM) to each campaign and advertising channel. This way, you can see how each individual promotion is performing.

If you find that your campaigns aren’t doing as well as they should, you can make the adjustments to ensure their success. When Cyber Monday and the other shopping holidays are over, complete an audit of your campaigns so that you can learn from the good and the bad and have a more successful shopping holiday next year!

Conclusion

Hopefully you’ve been planning for Cyber Monday for quite some time and are confident about what this shopping holiday will bring to your bottom line. It’s always helpful to go through the above steps and ensure that everything is ready to go for the big day. It’s days like this that can completely transform the trajectory for an online business!

About the Author: Matthew Smokowski

Matt is a PPC Strategist for SEMGeeks. He has a background in English and Creative writing and experience managing PPC campaigns for popular local businesses. He excels at creating creative ad copy, landing page content, and progressive PPC strategy. Matt has become the resident Amazon and Instagram Marketing Expert.

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