Guest Post: eCommerce Strategy
For those who forget to buy their significant other a gift or even just a card on Valentines Day, a common excuse is the idea that the occasion is a so-called “Hallmark Holiday;” something invented by greeting card companies in order to boost profit. There might be some truth to this, although it’s a weak excuse and one that might possibly lead to a domestic disagreement or two. The creation of events for the purposes of marketing and profit generation is hardly anything new (and indeed, children who forget Mothers Day or Fathers Day have been using the “made up holiday” defence for generations), although in recent years it could be argued that the tactic is intensifying- the creation of an event that will lead to a certain type of consumer behaviour.
And so we come to Cyber Monday, which is the Monday after the post Thanksgiving shopping frenzy known as Black Friday. Cyber Monday is targeted at online sales, and was popularized by online shopping giants such as Shop.org. There’s a certain savviness in creating an event to drive online sales, particularly an event that compliments Black Friday as a method of boosting sales into the lucrative festive season. But is an online Cyber Monday right for all types of online businesses?
Depending on your shipping options, a large proportion of your sales can come from offshore markets. Black Friday is a particularly American phenomenon, and the only comparable shopping event in other countries is probably the post Christmas sales (called the Boxing Day Sales in many countries), where you will see people standing in line for hours (or all night), and elbowing each other out of the way for a bargain. Online sales can reach global consumers, who might not necessarily be aware of the Cyber Monday concept, but at the same time, they don’t have to be. All they care about is that they’re getting a bargain.
Go Your Own Way
While consumers have now essentially been trained to look for online bargains on this specific day, this is really just a single day at the commencement of the busiest shopping period of the year. If you’re a smaller retailer, you might not like the idea of competing directly with the online divisions of major retailers, some of who launch Cyber Monday specific sites. You don’t necessarily have to follow the retail calendar- smaller businesses might be able to distinguish themselves by positioning their online retail efforts for consumers who might have missed out on a Cyber Monday bargain. Launching an online sale directly after Cyber Monday can be a great way of netting extra customers frustrated with their inability to obtain their first choice.
Can You Handle It?
The size of your operations plays a big part on the level of any type of Cyber Monday promotion you might choose to run. Can your website actually handle the additional traffic? Numerous online retailers have been known to crash as a result of the promotion, and so you need to ensure that you have adequate capacity for the period in question. You also need to make sure that excess orders don’t lead to any kind of significant shipping delays, whether it’s via your processing center or your delivery contractor. Customers really won’t care whose fault it is, all they’ll know is that their highly anticipated purchase is late, meaning they’re less likely to use your service next Cyber Monday, or anytime of the year.
There are many pros and cons to participating in Cyber Monday, and it all really comes down to whether or not it will help your business. You know your own business (and your customers) best, and so sometimes, it can be too much effort for too little gain.
Guest Author Bio: This is a post by Anita, an inbound marketing expert for Higherclick.com. She is currently writing on behalf of their client, Macys.com.
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