This year, online retailers experienced a record number of online sales for Cyber Monday, up 33 percent from last year. Furthermore, a record 10.8 percent of people used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site. But it’s not over just because Cyber Monday is, and this year, free shipping is playing a major factor in driving online sales. ComScore reports that over a third of 1,000 consumers polled stated that free shipping was a factor in their decision whether or not to make an online purchase.

December 16 is Free Shipping Friday, with over 2,300 retailers participating so far. Plenty of consumers will be hitting the keyboards to take advantage of this offer, much like on Cyber Monday. With Monday, Dec. 19 one of the last days for items to ship with guaranteed arrival for Christmas, retailers need to prepare for online traffic spikes or else risk losing revenue among today’s online-savvy consumers. Check out the following top five tips for handling increased traffic and taking advantage of mobile marketing techniques to further drive online sales:

  1. Detect user device and optimize content delivery. Understand how your content is being delivered and received on both desktops and mobile devices. Distinguish the type of mobile device and be prepared to deliver the supported content (i.e. Flash ads, HTML5, etc.) based on that device. Deliver images, ads and apps that are specific to the endpoint type.
  2. Be mobile: Engage with users on the go. National Retail Federation revealed that 52.6 percent of those who own a smartphone will use their device to research products, redeem coupons, use apps to assist in their purchase, and purchase holiday gifts and items. Mobile advertising affords the opportunity to engage with the right audience where and when they are most likely to purchase. Leverage geo-location technology to target users at a hyperlocal level to maximize responsiveness through the purchase funnel.
  3. Prepare for peak traffic times. Engaging with customers through social channels can have a positive impact on holiday retail campaigns, but also puts strain on websites as it can quickly generate traffic spikes. Make sure you have the resources in place to support social-minded holiday shoppers and avoid latency problems and downtime.
  4. Are you logging both “ad view” and “content view” data for use in future campaign analysis? It is important to know how many ads were viewed in their entirety on devices; how many ads were dropped before the end; how many ads were clicked on; what types of devices viewed the ads; when was the content viewed and from what geographic location. Additionally you should also be able to log “other content view” data – when was the content viewed on the devices; on what type of devices; where was the request coming from (geographic location); the time of the request; how long the viewer stayed on the page(s).
  5. It’s not over, just because Cyber Monday is. Continue to engage with consumers throughout the busy season, leveraging best practices such as geo-location mobile advertising, highly targeted online display advertising and real-time bidding to reach customers at optimal purchasing times. Anticipate traffic spikes and use those site analytics to learn more about your audience’s behavior (i.e. click-through habits) and lessons for next year’s busy season.

It seems that each year, more and more brands take advantage of the consumer hype by offering deals and sales to drive shoppers to their websites, such as Free Shipping Friday. Subsequently, more and more customers are shopping online and via mobile to take advantage of these deals. Without the proper tools and solutions in place to handle the increased traffic, online retailers and marketers face the reality that a competitor’s deals are simply a click away. Regardless of what device consumers are using to access online retailer websites, preparing for increased traffic will ensure that retailers have a happy – and profitable – holiday season.