The complete guide to Cyber Week 2017

Sarah Pritzker
Sarah Pritzker
September 6, 2017

If you’re in commerce of any sort, you know all about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But do you know them as well as you should? Traditionally, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when things go on sale in stores, and Cyber Monday is the Monday following Thanksgiving when one can find online deals. Until recently, Cyber Monday focused a lot more (though not exclusively) on fashion, whereas Black Friday had a lot more technology and small appliance sales.

Today however, brands and eSellers are changing the terms. Sale times are being pushed back and ahead, sale categories are expanding, and deals are being strategically placed before shoppers for the optimal buying power. Yes, a new era, known as Cyber Week, is emerging, and it means more deals for consumers and more profits for the savvy retailer with a plan. In this guide we’ll talk all about Cyber Week and discuss how you can maximize your revenue during one of the most lucrative shopping weeks of the year.

A quick glance back

Looking back, we can see one thing is clear: Cyber Week sales are growing by leaps and bounds year on year. Cyber Monday sales hit a record high of $2.98 billion in 2015, and then they topped the charts with a whopping $3.65 billion the following year. That’s the highest single-day of online shopping ever recorded. There’s a lot to learn from this prosperous sales opportunity!

Here are some of the more relevant facts from the previous year’s shopping experiences:

  • Millennials spent on average $338 per person online during Cyber Week, while the 35-54 age group spent slightly higher at $356.
  • Mobile commerce (mCommerce) hit a record high, reaching above the $1 billion mark for the first time in the history of mobile commerce. An impressive $1.2 billion was spent on that single day using mobile devices, nearly a third of all the ecommerce done on Black Friday 2016.
  • 75% of shopping is done in the morning hours of Cyber Monday.

Some of the hottest selling items included:

  • Sony PS4
  • Microsoft Xbox
  • Amazon Fire
  • Samsung 4K TVs
  • iPads

Toys that were really hot last season included Legos, Nerfs, Barbies, and Little Live Pets.

Looking forward

As with most retail seasons, Cyber Monday is trending towards an earlier premiere, starting on Sunday rather than Monday, and extending out to give crowds more deals and sales opportunities. It’s not unusual to see these holiday sales creeping in before Thanksgiving begins or to enjoy the frequent discounts well into the New Year. For example, major big box stores like Amazon and Walmart release different deals throughout the week, and are breaking the cyber trend by introducing in-store sales as well. What this means for retailers is that they have to be smart about which discounts to offer and when. Using big data, esellers need to plan which items to put on sale when for maximum profit, only slashing prices when other sale methods aren’t working.

Shoppers’ advisors and how to cater to the crowds

Consumers are getting expert advice on how to make the most of this deal season, and retailers need to stay abreast on where that advice is leading their customers so they can capitalize on the opportunities. Here are some tips to follow:

Look towards specific stores and eSellers first for the best deals
If shoppers are being advised to look towards eSellers, then make sure you are noticeable and deal-ready for your moment in the spotlight. Customers are expecting great deals throughout Cyber Week from their favorite online stores, deals that you won’t get in a brick and mortar store. Tailor your sales techniques so you have something impressive to offer. Consider combining sales, offering free shipping, and including free items that just aren’t selling as additional gifts or incentives.

Look for technology and toy sales on Cyber Monday specifically
These items tend to be the most focused on at the beginning of Cyber Week, so tweak your sales to fit the trend. Save deals on other categories for later on in the week when shoppers are looking elsewhere for more savings.

Shoppers should focus on apparel, travel, and beauty products during this week
People are going to be looking for smoking hot deals on clothing, shoes, makeup, camping gear, and more. Take a tip from major retail stores like Macy’s and Kohl’s by offering things like deep discounts (10%-50% off brand names), BOGO sales, and as always, free shipping. Sellers should also consider offering gift cards.

Predicted chart toppers

So which goods are expected to reap the most benefits in 2017? Red label items for this year’s Cyber Week include:

  • Smartphones and tablets, particularly the latest iPhone8, Galaxy S8, and iPads
  • Spas, retreats, dinners, and weekend getaways
  • Gaming consoles and accessories like PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, and Nintendo Switch
  • Televisions
  • Google Home and other smarthome devices
  • Gaming laptops
  • Cameras
  • Headphones

Putting it into practice

We can learn a lot from these numbers in terms of who, what, where, and how to tailor our marketing and sales campaigns for this opportune time. Here are a few takeaways for eSellers to learn from:

Don’t wait until the last minute to start your marketing campaigns. While the deals will start rolling in anywhere from the eve of Thanksgiving through New Year’s, smart online retailers will start building their audience and traffic in advance. This includes collecting email addresses for your blog or newsletter, running periodic giveaways or other participating ventures via social media outlets, and putting your best foot forward by keeping your website functional and looking good during the months leading up to this season. Do all the prep work at least a month in advance, and run a quick inventory check approximately two weeks prior to the event. This way, when the curtain goes up, you’ll have all your props and players in place.

Make sure everyone knows about your deals! The best sales won’t do anyone a stitch of good if your customers don’t know about them. Send out emails, SMS blasts, or other promotional heads ups letting shoppers know that deals are about to come. This will enable your customers to be on the lookout. Let social media work for you by making major broadcasts about the deals. Also have banner ads, pop-ups, and website landing pages announcing your Cyber Week sales.

Get mobile ready. If annual trends are an indication (and they always are), mobile shopping is only going to increase with Cyber Week 2017. So make sure you’re ready for it. Check all links especially checkout and shopping cart links to ensure they’re running smoothly, update images and product details with crisp pictures and accurate descriptions (don’t forget to check for compatibility), and have any promotions linked to your mobile site or app.

People list online convenience and avoiding the crowds as two of the main reasons they opt for online versus brick and mortar store shopping, so deliver upon that promise. Make shopping as convenient as possible by having enough staff on hand to man the phones, sufficient supplies and tools to process orders, and (in case we didn’t make it clear enough) offer free shipping. A website that can’t handle the influx of traffic will also not do you any good during this busy season.

Keep things as simple as possible. Make sure deals are easy to understand, easy to access, and easy to cash in on. Otherwise, your customers will just go somewhere else.

Everyone from pet products to office supplies, beauty to sports gear and beyond can make the most of this exciting opportunity for increased revenue. Save doorbusters for the first day, but don’t stop there. Let the savings continue throughout the week, and you are sure to see major profits streaming in during the entire event.

Big sales = big payments. Make sure your cashflow is smooth this holiday season

read next