How to Take Advantage of Cyber Monday / Small Business Saturday and why it is huge for small business!
Every year the Christmas shopping season is like Ravel’s classical (and classic!) arrangement Boléro. It starts off with just a few strings but ends with the whole orchestra blasting. If you run a small business or an online business, you’ll need to be ready for the crescendo. That means preparing your website for the holiday season by having a strategy in place to take advantage of Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday.
These two shopping days have their roots in Black Friday, the most famous shopping day of them all.
For many consumers, Black Friday is the day official start date of Christmas shopping. Of course, many shop before the end of November (but only the rare few willingly admit to it!) Black Friday is a respectable day to come out of the Christmas shopping closet to battle with crowds of manic bargain hunters and then stand in quixotic queues. Oh, and the mall? It’s just crazy these days.
Is it any wonder that savvy consumers are looking for something different?
Step forward Cyber Monday. It’s now a marketing term but it started off as a way for internet analysts to explain the sales patterns they were seeing in the run up to Christmas. Since 2005 online retailers have reported that their busiest day of the year is the Monday after Thanksgiving.
One day of giving thanks followed by three days of getting more stuff is not enough for the average consumer anymore. They’ll get back to work on the Monday following Thanksgiving, and continue spending online.
Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday is in some respects an artificial creation. American Express started it. But don’t let its lack of organic authenticity put you off. By getting involved with Small Business Saturday, you get one of the things that both Cyber Monday and Black Friday offer – marketing with meaning. It’s marketing that money cannot buy.
And right there is why Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday are so important for small businesses – everyone and their moms are talking about them. So you should take advantage.
How To Take Advantage
Now that you’re on the bandwagon what do you do? How do you take advantage of Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday? Here are some tips:
- Preparation – Check what worked last year and prepare your offerings for this year. Get your marketing materials in place and plan your marketing strategy. Also, make sure you have enough staff in place to deal with the customers / orders. Finally, research your competitors and if they have a good idea or a fantastic deal, match it (or better it!).
- Marketing – Don’t wait until Cyber Monday or Small Business Saturday to start marketing the deals. You should get the word out by any means you can – signs or leaflets in your shop, banners on your website, social media, email marketing etc. – and you should start it on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving at the latest. Make sure you’re listed on Google Maps (and other directories). If you engage in any paid advertising, including pay-per-click or offline advertising, consider increasing this.
- Stand Out – You will be competing for the attention of your customers so make sure they notice you. The deals you offer should have pizzazz but they should also look legitimate. The most important thing is that they stand apart so that customers spend money in your shop or on your website instead of one of your competitors.
- Be Smart About Timing – Research has indicated that consumer spending on Cyber Monday peaks early in the morning and at lunchtime, so offer extra-special deals at these times. You can do something similar if you are a bricks-and-mortar retailer looking to capitalize on Small Business Saturday – offer extra-special deals at certain times of the day, or open later / earlier than your competitors.
The final thing you should do to get the most out of Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday is to keep the momentum going. Reach out to your customers in the days that follow with different offers and enticements.
With a little bit of thought, pre-planning and a channeling of efforts, the big consumer spending days of the Christmas season can be very lucrative for your business. And do you want a final tip? Play Boléro on your iPod or stereo system at some point during the big day. It’s a great way to sashay your way into the season and make sales.