Much has been made about the decline of American manufacturing. Notably, China overtook the United States as the top manufacturing country in the world in 2010.
And now, they’re even beating us when it comes to manufacturing holidays.
Yesterday (November 11) was a holiday known as “Singles Day,” and it was created by Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group. It fittingly falls on November 11, or 11/11, because all the 1’s represent singles. It is an anti-Valentine’s Day in which people are encouraged to buy gifts for the singles in their lives.
And “buy gifts” is exactly what they did.
Singles Day easily surpassed Black Friday and Cyber Monday as the world’s most lucrative online shopping day. By 11pm local time in Hangzhou, China (where Alibaba is headquartered), the company had surpassed $9 billion in sales. By comparison, U.S. consumers spent $2.9 billion globally online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to ComScore.
So we’ve got some catching up to do. And you can do your part to inch us closer to that $9 billion mark by making sure your website is set up to take advantage of the boosts in traffic you should see between Nov. 27-30.
So in honor of 11/11, here are 11 tips for maximizing ecommerce traffic during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
1. Understand user experience
It can be easy to get caught up in the frenzy of driving traffic around the holidays, but don’t let that get in the way of providing your visitors with a first-class experience when they get to your site. To do this, it helps to understand how website visitors are using your site, which you can do with tools like usertesting.com. You can get videos of real people speaking their thoughts as they browse your website.
2. Customize product photos and pages with holiday visuals
I was in Los Angeles a couple weeks ago, and nearly every billboard or bus stop bench I saw had an ad for a new television show that began airing earlier in the season. On more than one occasion, the promotions were for shows that had already been cancelled. They served as nothing but depressing reminders of projects that failed miserably.
Nothing says, “I’m lazy” more than having something that clearly shows you’re not paying attention. By that same logic, you can prove you’re not lazy by making sure that your product photos and pages are customized with holiday themes as the season quickly approaches. That way, people know that the content on your site is relevant and updated. It’s also a good way to play on people’s emotional connection to holiday imagery. Just don’t forget to remove the themes at the end of the season.
3. Think mobile
Last year, mobile shopping on Black Friday increased by 118 percent from the prior year, and 24 percent of all online shopping was done on a mobile device. That trend will only increase as mobile continues to establish itself as an easy way to shop online. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices, and take advantage of this trend by creating mobile ad campaigns.
4. Price sorting
In my family, we have price limits on how much each of us can spend on each other. I also have a friend who prepares his holiday budget on January 1 of every year, and then each month he stashes away 1/11th of that budget so that it’s there for him to spend come December.
I bring all this up to say that many people have budgets that they are trying to stick to for their holiday shopping. You can delight these website visitors by giving them the option to sort by price so they can instantly see what products fall within their budget.
5. Increase ad bids
If only you were the only one that knew that ecommerce traffic surged on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But, alas, this is common knowledge, and so CPMs will skyrocket. According to AdRoll, the average CPM for industry goes up 40-200 percent. As such, AdRoll recommends that you plan to increase your bids by up to 60 percent.
6. Offer coupons in shipping confirmation emails
Transactional emails – those messages that are triggered by a user’s behavior on your site, such as making a purchase – are typically the most read emails that a company sends. When someone makes a purchase on your site, they will be expecting a confirmation email letting them know that the purchase was made and that the shipment has taken place. While you’ve got their attention, why not remind them about some of the other killer deals you’ve got on your site?
7. After Black Friday, start getting people excited for Cyber Monday
The Saturday and Sunday in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday are crucial. Your audience will quickly shift their attention from the hot deals of one manufactured holiday to another one. To maintain their interest and attention, you can deploy teaser ad campaigns or offer early bird discounts in anticipation of Monday’s events.
8. Make sure site is ready to handle uptick in traffic
Be careful what you wish for – if you want a lot of traffic, you better be prepared for it. You can lose visitors for life if they are greeted with an error message after clicking on one of your ads or social media posts. Take a good hard look at your back end to make sure it can handle what will hopefully be a surge in traffic.
9. Use holiday countdowns to encourage daily visitors and repeat customers
Doing something like “12 Days of Christmas Savings” or “30 Days of Holiday Sales” will get people to keep coming back to your site even after the madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can either start your holiday countdown during this weekend, or you can begin promoting a future countdown to get people to come back to your site after they’ve taken advantage of the killer Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals you’ve offered them.
10. Delivery calculator
If someone is making a purchase on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, they should be fairly confident that whatever they ordered will arrive before December 25. But a lot of people have company parties or other Christmas gatherings earlier in the season, and if you provide them with a delivery calculator, they will know whether or not their shipment will arrive in time for the special event.
11. Give people what they want: Killer deals!
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are ubiquitous enough that people have extremely high expectations for the bargains that will be offered. Your website visitors are expecting free shipping, two-for-ones, and discounts of up to 50 percent. They want to know that the discounts they are getting are the best deals they will see all year.
The only way for you to succeed is by offering these types of deals. It may mean slimmer profit margins, but if your site is easy to use and you provide users with a phenomenal customer experience, you will win repeat business that will more than make up for it. Remember that you are always trying to delight your customers, and there’s no better way to do this on Black Friday and Cyber Monday than by offering them can’t-miss deals. Shopping during this time can be stressful, so try to do your part to give them something to smile about amongst all of the madness.