Prepping for Cyber Monday

Merchants take note of the many things I'm having to consider before the rush of this holiday shopping season. Keep in mind I own many ecommerce sites - both new and old. Namely, these are some of the tasks I lay out to help me prep Iced Tees and a brand new shoe line I'm launching called Agony.  

  • Segment Your Email Lists: Hopefully this is already organized, but just in case it's not, you're going to need to segment your target lists for an email blast about your holiday promotions.
  • Identify Your Deals: What are you doing to lure customers in? 50% off an entire line? Unheard of payment plans? Whatever the deal is, make sure you set them in stone and understand the impact they have on your profit margins.
  • Write Great Copy: You're going to want to ensure you have great content for your imminent email announcement, your blog post, your social media profiles, press releases, on-site banners, and even advertisements across the web. You can't mess this part up. This is how you'll be communicating your specials. 
  • Send Out an Email: Blast the targeted lists that you cleaned out in step #1. You should garner instant traffic from this no matter what. But of course, that depends solely on the size of your email list. 
  • Configure Ad Campaigns: I not only set up basic AdWords campaigns for specific keywords, but I get a little creative with some of the smaller ad networks that won't be as competitive as the bigger names. Less competition means lower prices for the same traffic. No matter what, I will target users through remarketing all through the season. 
  • Set Up Live Chat: When you have an influx of traffic coming onto your site, it's important customers get all of their questions answered quickly. The best way to facilitate and scale customer service on your website is to deploy a live chat function. My usual suggestion is to make the chat proactive during these busy days so that you can engage with potential customers by default. The more you are able to show someone is there, the less likely visitors will bounce quickly. This gives your store a better chance to make a sale in real-time. 
  • Add More Ways To Pay: This might not always be relevant because you should ALWAYS offer a diverse range of the most obvious payment types. However, the holidays do open up an opportunity to offer clever payment and layaway plans. I've seen many brands offer a "loyalty card" of sorts during the holidays that gives new customers an immediate upside for becoming a member, and allows them to pay off their purchase over time. This undoubtedly can elevate the Average Order Value of your checkout. 
  • Personalize Fulfillment: My favorite thing to do is to surprise customers with delight. Although I encourage brands to do this all the time, use the holiday season to produce personalized thank you letters to every single paying customer. I'm aware that this doesn't scale very well, but it makes a difference for long-term customer trust and retention. 
  • Offer Sharing Incentives: As if you're not already eliminating your profit margins enough, I suggest layering more incentives for shares. This works particularly well post-checkout. Once you've made a sale, leverage the customer's excitement to encourage them to share the details of their purchase. Of course, this gets tricky if the customer was buying something for someone as a secret holiday gift, but if you make the shared message general enough, it's worthwhile to send the sharer a $5 off coupon via email after the fact. 
  • Consider Long-Term Customer Retention: Customer engagement shouldn't halt after the holidays are over. The sooner you realize that you now have customers to continue to engage with and sell to, the quicker you can generate more revenue from them. The recipe becomes more about understanding your customers and offering them the right things at the right times. Continue your email campaigns. Continue running promotions. Most of all, always be there for your new customers. The better you treat them, the more likely they are to come back again next holiday season.