This Cyber Monday, take a page from top retailers and prep your direct-to-consumer business for online success
If you’re like many Americans, today you’re enjoying turkey and dressing leftovers with one hand while clicking your way to some great online deals with the other. Yes, the holiday shopping season has arrived.
For retailers, the four peak days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday generate incredible numbers. In 2016, brick-and-mortar stores captured about 99 million customers. Online shopping garnered around 108.5 million shoppers. That translated into a whopping $3.45 billion in Cyber Monday sales alone. And 2017 looks even brighter. Analysts estimate that 56% of shoppers plan to shop online today—an increase of 17% from last year.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are make-or-break shopping days for retailers, with most stores preparing a year or more in advance for these big days. But every business has its peak periods when optimizing the customer experience becomes critical to success. For tax preparers, it’s January through April. For car dealers, it’s early fall when new models are released.
What any business can learn from retail
When your peak hits, make sure you’re ready to capture your share of customers and sales with these proven tips:
Crush your category. Is your product or service so brand-memorable that consumers will simply type in your URL when they’re ready to shop or buy online? It is when car lovers, sports fans and trendsetters bypass the search button and instead go directly to BMW.com, MLB.com and Target.com.
But crushing your category with that level of brand awareness and consumer recall can take years to achieve, on top of expensive promotion. For the rest of us, opt for direct response techniques that make it quick and easy for consumers to find you—without the distractions of search engines.
Instead of simply showing your product and leaving it up to the consumer to find you online, make sure every advertisement and communication features your website address. Better still, develop custom landing pages with memorable URLs and targeted content, then promote those via your television and radio campaigns. And remember, while Cyber Monday is the pinnacle of online sales, every retailer knows that offline marketing efforts maximize your digital traffic.
Avoid the “Google tax.” Relying on consumer memory and the whims of search engines leaves too much to chance—including your budget. There are simply too many variables in search engines and consumer behavior that are beyond your control. Competitors, resellers and even misspelled words can all cannibalize your potential customers. The alternatives, adwords and paid, will boost your visibility, but also take a toll on your bottom line. Every time you pay for an impression or a click, you’re subject to something we like to call the “Google tax.”
There are ways, however, to direct consumers straight to you. Direct response campaigns can give your potential buyers a specific path of contact. Instead of pointing consumers to your website, try calls to action that feature unique SMS codes. (After all, most of us have a smartphone in hand no matter what we’re doing.) This technique capitalizes on mobile commerce trends and lets you control the conversation. By year’s end, over 2 billion smartphone or tablet users will have made a mobile commerce transaction, up from 1.6 billion last year.
Be irresistible. Your marketplace is crowded with distractions, and not all industries have the media darling of a Cyber Monday to remind consumers to buy. When you’re promoting your product or service, remember that you’ve got just seconds to make an impression and propel consumers to action. That takes a compelling offer.
Make sure your television and radio campaigns go beyond the basics of image-driven creative. Smart advertisers know broadcast ads that include an offer outperform traditional spots—generating more active and motivated buyers for your business. Testing your offers delivers even more power, enabling you to perfect your approach and become truly irresistible.
Plan now for your peak. You don’t need a seven-figure retail budget to put broadcast marketing to work for your business. Contact us to find out how to capture a greater share of online sales.