Here's the backstory on Cyber Monday and what this year's statistics mean for retailers.
Cyber Monday is a big deal at my company, VerticalResponse. Since we cater to small businesses that use email marketing, social media and events, we have a lot of retailers as customers. On Cyber Monday, we achieved our biggest day in revenue ever, and it's because retailers came to us guns blazing. They sent their email campaigns and posted their social campaigns promoting deals and steals, all to capitalize on this jubilant online retail day.
So, did you ever wonder where Cyber Monday came from? Here's the backstory.
Back in the day when high-speed Internet access wasn't so common, people would hop onto their work computers the Monday after Black Friday to see if they could find better deals than the malls. Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, released research in 2005 that showed that Monday started to be the busiest online shopping day of the year, and began to market Cyber Monday as such. Soon enough, it became a wonderful marketing opportunity that retailers latched onto and began capitalizing on.
Just to give you an example of its growth: According to comScore, in 2006 online shopping sales on Cyber Monday were $610 million; it jumped to $1.25 billion in 2011, and this year the number grew to $1.46 billion. Online retail spending increased 16 percent in the first 26 days of this year's holiday season, compared to last year.
Amazon reported that in 2011, they sold a whopping 200 products per second--we'll see what happens this year, but Amazon was initially reporting that it did 20 percent more this holiday season!
I saw some pretty crazy Cyber Monday deals out there, and also noticed something that I think will become more and more popular: A lot of pre-Cyber Monday deals (aka "Cyber Weekend") and even online promotions that extended the entire week after Cyber Monday (dubbed "Cyber Week"):
So, it's no longer just one day of online savings--retailers are pushing lots of opportunities to buy!
What's this got to do with you? Well, if you sell online and didn't hop on board the Cyber Monday train this year, you should seriously consider it for next year because it's only going to accelerate. You also might want to create additional incentives before and/or after Cyber Monday--now that a lot more people have high-speed Internet access on home computers and smartphones, you can be sure they're looking for great online deals well before and beyond just one day.
Speaking of smartphones, it's also a good idea to make sure your e-commerce site is optimized for mobile viewing and shopping. Mobile usage by shoppers on Cyber Monday this year increased 70 percent versus 2011 and mobile sales nearly doubled, according to an IBM report. And it's only going to grow even more. Check out the folks over at Dudamobile; they've got really nifty tools for you to easily have that done!
Cyber Monday should have been a great day for most retailers. How did you fare?
JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick