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Cyber Monday – 5 ways to prep

Cyber Monday – the biggest online shopping day of the year – launches Monday 30th November. We’ve put together a go-to list of what you need to know and do.

1. Know what you’re in for

Cyber Monday is one American export that is here to stay. Get ready to swap familiar Black Friday scenes of customers fighting over cut-price TVs in supermarkets to an online scramble that’s just as hectic. Following a lead from big US-owned retailers such as Amazon and Asda, the day gets bigger every year with more and more online retailers joining in. And there’s good reason behind it. Last year, Brits spent £810m on online purchases at a rate of £9,375 every second. This year, internet sales on Cyber Monday are expected to surpass £1bn for the first time in UK history. Prepare to be busy.

2. Don’t compete

Stay with us on this one. Big hitters like John Lewis, Amazon, GAME, Tesco and Asda have some of the best deals around, but only because they’ve got the scope to reduce prices to extremely low levels. Trying to compete with them won’t work and could negatively impact the long-term financials of your business. Instead, think about what makes you unique as a small business and capitalise on it. Incentives, such as exclusive access to your next sale or a free gift with purchases will help you to cut through the noise. Play to your strengths.

3. Make a list

Spreadsheets can be boring, but they can also be a total lifesaver. Use a GoogleDoc with restricted editing rights or Microsoft Excel on Office 365 to share all of the essential information for the day with your team or partners. Make a list of everything you’re putting on sale. List the item name, the regular price, the sale price and the start/end days of the offer so that you have everything to hand and in one place. When it comes to everyone involved, assign responsibilities in the same spreadsheet using a separate tab. List the person’s name, their contact details and what they’re responsible for on the day. Circulate this to everyone.

4. Get tech ready

Cyber Monday is all about making the most of tech to sell more stock than usual using cut-prices and special offers. Make sure that your tech doesn’t fail you, like it did John Lewis and Argos, who both struggled to maintain site speed during Cyber Monday last year and suffered a very public gaffe as a result. With more customers heading to your website, the main issue to worry about is the potential impact this will have on your servers. Consider cloud hosting technology such as Office 365 to increase capacity, have your IT team on speed dial and draw up a tech support rota that covers the full 24 hours your deals will be available for. Add all this info to your spreadsheet.

5. Stay in touch

Tweets, sponsored Facebook posts and emails will help raise awareness about your brand and your Cyber Monday deals. Send your customers a teaser email, letting them know that you’ve got great deals, highlighting a few choice products to whet their appetite. On the day itself, Econsultancy recommends resending to non-openers. This will remind them of the offers that you’ve got on, and potentially capture their attention at exactly the right moment to provoke a click-through-to-buy. For both social and email, make sure you’re tracking everything using Google Analytics and any tools that are provided by your email programme. Save the results for insight next year.

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