Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are upon us and as small business owners it is time to begin preparing our businesses for the shopping frenzies that can only be found during this time of year. Sales are forecasted to increase 2.8 percent over last year’s figures, which means that a truly astounding number of people will be shopping during the time period shortly after Thanksgiving.
While these three famous shopping days are wonderful for business, they can be disastrous if the proper steps have not been taken to prepare store fronts and websites for the best customer experience and service possible. Here are some steps you can take to ensure everything goes smoothly for you during these days:
Have a Plan
The first step to anything is to create a plan, and preparing for Cyber Monday is no different. Is it important to prepare a plan of what sales you will be having, what items will be advertised and how you will begin preparations for your Cyber Monday customer traffic. This gives a clear direction for your store, employees, vendors and customers when the rush of online orders begins to flood in.
Prepare Your Business’s Technology
Preparing your website, database, servers, and applications for Cyber Monday is of the utmost importance for business income and customer satisfaction. To prepare your technology for high traffic, there are a few things that need to be accomplished:
1. Check Your Bandwidth and Test for High Traffic
As a business, it is important to check and work with your hosting provider to ensure your website can meet the high traffic needs during Cyber Monday. Traffic to your website will most likely more than double during the peak Monday shopping hours and work with your provider to create a strategy for keeping page and product loading times low. Also work with your host to make sure your site’s current bandwidth is burstable. You may also want to look into purchasing additional bandwidth before getting charged with using excess bandwidth during the shopping season.
2. Audit Site and Update Content
A website can say a lot about a company and a site that is clear, easy to use and filled with valuable and updated content can help drive traffic during the sell season as well as direct customers to your hot ticket items. Preform a site audit and look to where you can adjust wording to be simple, clear and contain a call to action. Calls to action encourage clients to purchase your product “before it’s gone.” Once your site audit is complete, update the content to reflect your Cyber Monday sales and item descriptions in a positive, easy to read and easy to understand way. The easy use of your site will result in grateful and appreciative customers who come back year after year.
3. Optimize the Check Out Process
All this hard work on your site is for nothing if you don’t have a fluid and convenient check out process. Asking for repeat information or requiring extra work to purchase a product results in unhappy customers who are frazzled by the poor condition of your check out process. This may mean a lost sale or unhappy clients who won’t promote your product or brand to anyone else. Remove any obstacles and make your check out process simple and easy.
All the hard work of planning and preparing for Cyber Monday will all be for not without a good business advertising plan. As small business owners, we may not have the budget for special advertisements for our Cyber Monday and holiday sales but spreading the word through free sits such as Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter maybe enough to drive that holiday traffic to your site. Part of a good online advertising plan would also be to post photos of your products online on social sites to circulate interest for your Cyber Monday sales. No matter your budget though, prepare and implement an advertising plan to get customers to your website to purchase their holiday items.
Lastly, you must prepare your inventory to keep up with the coming demands of holiday clients. Let your vendors know you’re expected amount of sod inventory and prepare your facility to be ready to ship out items as soon as possible for clients who are anxious to see their online purchases. If some items need to be restocked, restock them before the holiday rush to save time, money and stress on you as a business owner.
Creating a Great Customer Experience
The whole point of preparing your business for Cyber Monday is to create an ideal customer experience for the holiday shoppers. Through preparing your website, your optimize customer satisfaction as well as sales. By creating a plan, it reduces stress on you and gives you a clear direction when dealing with clients. Advertising drives traffic to your site and by preparing inventory you don’t run the risk of delayed shipments and unhappy clients. The key to a great Cyber Monday sale is to create a great customer experience and by preparing your business to do so, you will succeed as a Cyber Monday and online business. For more information on different business technologies available, click here.