Retailers in the US have two major holiday shopping dates that they deemed to be most lucrative – Black Friday on the day after Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday on the first Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday. As major retailers clamor to extend their discounted deals during the Thanksgiving weekend, Cyber Monday was created as a marketing tactic made by e-commerce retailers to persuade consumers to shop online.

Understanding Cyber Monday consumer behavior

As the biggest online shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday is starting to become the new Black Friday of the holiday shopping season. In fact, Rakuten Marketing reported that last year’s Cyber Monday sales overtook Black Friday sales by 68% with revenue and purchases up by 12%. The 2017 report attributed mobile sales as the key performance driver for the growth since mobile purchases went up by 32% with an increase of 37% in mobile revenues.

The surge in Cyber Monday sales is attributed to the changing attitudes and buying intentions of consumers toward shopping at stores for doorbuster deals during Black Friday and shopping online on Cyber Monday instead.

Research showed that while consumers enjoy shopping on Black Friday, they are more likely to shop and make an online purchase on Cyber Monday for greater convenience. The Monday after Thanksgiving now became the peak shopping day of the season as 58% of consumers who came to work after the holidays will most likely go online and shop while at work during office hours.

Rakuten Marketing CEO Tony Zito noted on the report:

“Brands should focus on new shopper acquisition strategies that can lead to repeat and loyal customers, capitalize on immediate sales opportunities, and establish shopper lifetime value.”

What does this mean for local businesses?

The evolving shopping habits of consumers during the holiday season can actually be a boon for local businesses to help them capitalize on the Cyber Monday phenomenon and gain loyal customers in the process. But first, let’s understand several key points to consider before jumping the gun on Cyber Monday promotions.

Several Cyber Monday promotions are launched before Monday. However, the major sales always occur on Monday morning.

As the holiday sales promotions keep on getting bigger and earlier, so does its online sales promotions and discounts. Early Cyber Monday deals usually occur during the Thanksgiving weekend, but a majority of retailers will wait until Monday morning to post the biggest discounts on their websites.

Major retailers often offer sitewide discounts.

It’s not surprising to see big e-commerce websites like Amazon to offer sitewide discounts from 40 to 50% off of their products on Cyber Monday. Apparel retailers will also most likely mark down their prices on this day.

Free shipping is a given incentive.

As an added perk for shopping on Cyber Monday, major retailers would often give a free shipping incentive with no minimum purchase required for online shoppers. Most retailers understand the need to give free shipping as a shopping enticement to make consumers consider buying something online for Cyber Monday.

Here’s how small businesses can leverage on Cyber Monday

Not all local businesses have the budget or even the manpower to start a full-blown campaign for the Thanksgiving holiday shopping season. However, there are still several ways to make the most out of the Cyber Monday phenomenon and make them work for you and your business. Here are several tips to help local businesses get started on crafting a digital marketing strategy for Cyber Monday:

TIP 1: Stay ahead of the curve by crafting an omnichannel strategy.

Local businesses need to realize that innovation is the key to longevity in the industry. One way of doing that is by crafting an omnichannel retail strategy that will give you a leg up on the holiday season. It also wouldn’t hurt if you plan early and be prepared ahead of time for Cyber Monday.

An omnichannel retail strategy lets you do that by making it easy for your consumers to buy products however they want to – across all channels. The boost in mobile sales for last year’s Cyber Monday indicates the continuing shift of consumers’ purchase-on-demand habits. It just goes to show that even local businesses need to have their shops mobile-ready to anticipate the increase in consumers shopping with their mobile devices.

British fashion retailer Oasis created a great omnichannel strategy for their fashion-forward consumers.

Their mobile app and e-commerce website complements the in-store customer service experience for Oasis consumers. If an item appears out-of-stock at the store, the staff can easily give you the option to place an online order and have the item shipped directly at home. Not only that, but the Oasis website also offers several enhanced delivery options like nominated day delivery, next day delivery, and click and collect at the store options.

Oasis learned how to adapt to the evolving shopping requirements of their fashionable consumers by capitalizing on consumer-generated content with the Oasis My Way feature where consumers can upload and share their trendy Oasis outfits on the website.

TIP 2: Use organic reach to target locals online.

Being a homegrown business with local roots can be turned into an advantage when it comes to Cyber Monday promotions. Leverage your business by marketing to the local demographic and appealing to the unique quirks of your quaint locale. Let them know where to reach you and make sure that you are encouraging them to support the local economy by patronizing your products.

This is what founders Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey did to their local business, the 3 Stars Brewing Co.

The company is making handcrafted artisanal ales to the beer lovers of Washington DC beer. They amassed a growing number of loyal followers by making beers that suit the tastes of their community. Plus, their shop has a tasting room where you can try out their homebrews and they also host private parties and beer-themed events for the local community.

Growlers, Pints & Flights

TIP 3: Stock up on your inventory and offer your best deals.

Remember to stock up on your best-selling items and offer your consumers with the best deal you can give them on Cyber Monday. Online shoppers are smart and they are going to hunt the best value for money discounts they can find. So make sure that you got your bases covered with good deals and an adequate inventory.

Check out what Pura Vida Bracelets, a local accessories maker based in San Diego, California did to their social feeds on last year’s Cyber Monday sale.

Instagram Photo

Pura Vida Bracelets was founded by two friends on a college graduation trip in Costa Rica. The brand name “Pura Vida” means pure life in Spanish, a Costa Rican philosophy that encourages the appreciation of life’s simple treasures and the lifestyle of living life to the fullest. Staying true to their brand’s philosophy, Pura Vida Bracelets promoted the sitewide Cyber Monday sale by showcasing the simple and laidback lifestyle that their products try to emulate.

TIP 4: Leverage on your local contact list and go big on email marketing.

Use your local network and existing customers to gain momentum for email marketing promotions on Cyber Monday. Recent data showed that Cyber Monday emails generate the highest clicks to purchases conversion rates among all other holiday-themed newsletters.

You should be ready to get your consumers excited on Cyber Monday and give them exclusive sneak peeks of your best deals by sending out well-crafted newsletters to your contact list.

Cowboy and western apparel store Boot Barn did this exceedingly well for their Cyber Monday promotions last year.

By frequently sending out newsletters in the days leading up to Cyber Monday, Boot Barn was able to get ahead and target their niche market who would consider purchasing their cowboy-themed apparel for the holidays. Customers were redirected to the Boot Barn’s Cyber Monday landing page where they could conveniently browse through their exclusive Cyber Monday deals.

TIP 5: Get creative! Add a personal and thoughtful touch into the ad copy.

Your customers will be bombarded with a bunch of sales copy on Cyber Monday. Be sure to stand out by creating a meticulous ad copy that will capture the interests of your target audience.

Brainstorm ad copies for newsletter subject lines, blog topics, and social media captions by creating a content calendar that will engage consumers and build brand awareness during the holidays. There are online video ad creators out there that can help add a bit of pizzazz to your Cyber Monday promotions.

Now let’s take a look at the excellent social media copy of Letterfolk, a small business based on Salt Lake City run by a husband and wife team.

Instagram Photo

As a retro letterboard startup, Letterfolk reaches out to their consumers on Instagram by injecting the brand’s unique sense of humor with inspiring and relatable content. Their posts create an emotional connection with their audience and it encourages them to like, tag others, and share their posts on social media.

TIP 6: Be tech savvy and go online with business promotions.

Local businesses need to set themselves apart from the competition by amplifying their business promotions online. Take advantage of web traffic on Cyber Monday and use social media to increase your following and build your local audience. Make sure to add a hashtag of your local area so your customers know where to find you, such as #CyberMondayinLA or #CyberMondayChicago.

You can also use social media to help shoppers buy directly from your store just like what Madewell did on their Instagram feed.

Instagram Photo

Women’s apparel company Madewell did an excellent job at turning their Instagram feed into an online store where consumers can “shop the look” of the items that they see. Madewell’s Instagram bio has a like2buy website link where consumers can just click on an image they posted and be instantly directed to the items that they can buy on the Madewell website.

TIP 7: Provide your consumers with a better and more personalized shopping experience.

Know your local audience well and anticipate what they need for your Cyber Monday promotions. As a homegrown company, you have the advantage to target your niche audience and provide them with exactly the right kind of things they are looking for. When they shop at your store, make them feel like they’re doing more than a business transaction and offer a friendlier and more personalized shopping experience.

Check out Compass Coffee, a local coffee shop from Washington DC. This shop is an ideal homegrown alternative from those big chains of coffee shops that we see around the country.

Instagram Photo

From their espressos to their signature blends, Compass Coffee founders Harrison Suarez and Michael Haft, take pride in creating coffee that’s nothing fancy or too crazy but simply – just really good coffee. Creating simple and tasty coffee sourced from the freshest ingredients, Compass Coffee makes sure that each cup has a medley of flavors that suit the tastes of the local community.

TIP 8: Stay true to your brand persona.

Don’t let yourself get distracted with Cyber Monday promotions that you forget the essence of what your brand stands for. Your branding should be consistent all throughout your holiday promotions. Remember to stay true to your brand persona even if most of your products are on sale or you’re experimenting on new deals and discounts for Cyber Monday.

Take a look at this inspirational apparel brand District of Clothing.

Are you ready to get started on your Cyber Monday promotions?

It won’t be long before Cyber Monday arrives! Are you and your business up to the challenge?

When everything’s said and done, the ultimate success of your Cyber Monday strategy depends on how well you know the needs of your consumers.

Don’t join the holiday sale bandwagon just because you feel like you are compelled to do so. Join them because there you want to satisfy the need for your consumers to purchase discounted merchandise from your shop during the holidays. Remember to face the challenge head-on by following these tips and start creating your first Cyber Monday ads!