Get Ready for Cyber Monday: 5 Tips to Kick-off Holiday Sales

by TaxJar November 1, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way consumers shop, giving a huge boost to e-commerce sales. Online sales reached their peak back in May, but data from Adobe shows they are ramping back up, with 21% year-over-year growth from last year’s holiday season.

In fact, Cyber Monday is predicted to reach a whopping $10 billion in sales this year. Make sure your business gets its fair share of those revenues by taking the following five steps.

1. Entice your audience.

Cyber Monday is all about the deals, so make sure you have some good ones. The most obvious way to do so is to offer a discount on your prices. Big discounts will attract and convert new customers, some of whom will become loyal to your brand and boost your revenues in the long term.

In addition to discounts, free shipping on large orders is another way to catch the eyes of consumers. This strategy incentivizes customers to purchase an extra item or two and can quickly pay for itself. If free delivery isn’t viable for your business, offer customers the option to buy online and pick up in-store—or better yet, curbside.

Finally, reward shoppers with additional discounts if they’re willing to pass on your promotions to a friend.For example, say a customer completes an order for sunglasses. After checkout, they receive a prompt that says something like “Thanks for your purchase. Know a friend who will totally gush over your new shades? Give them a $15 discount code by filling in their email below. As a thanks, we’ll send you $15 off as well!”

2. Promote any special deals in advance.

What good is a good deal if no one knows it exists? Promote your offerings wide and far to make sure you attract Cyber Monday shoppers.

First things first: Start teasing your Cyber Monday sales TODAY. Send a promotional email letting your existing customer base know what deals are in store, and alert your social media followers with some promotional posts. Keep teasing until the night before. (Cyber) Monday morning, check in with your customers to announce that the sales are on and stock is selling fast.

If you have the advertising budget, you should also consider running a Facebook or Instagram ad. One out of three online shoppers report that they find new items to purchase through social media ads, according to Metrilo, which proves how valuable paid social has become for reaching new audiences. Be sure to highlight your upcoming sales in your ads to create a sense of urgency with your new customers.

3. Don’t forget to calculate and track sales tax.

Sales-tax laws vary by state, and the rules aren’t always clear for eCommerce. Make sure you understand what you need to do to comply with local laws before sales start flooding in.

If you haven’t already, learn where you have nexus, which states require sales tax on eCommerce, and what rates you need to charge. Keep in mind that an influx of sales on Cyber Monday might bring you to nexus in new states, as well.

And it might sound obvious, but double-check that you have measures in place to collect those taxes from customers at the time of sale so you aren’t held responsible later. You should also keep meticulous records of your transactions so your sales tax filings are accurate for every state.

If you aren’t ready for Cyber Monday from a sales tax standpoint, don’t freak out. TaxJar can take the entire burden off your shoulders. Check out our plans to learn how you can start collecting and filing sales tax automatically.

4. Optimize your website.

Ideally, your website will see a huge spike in traffic on Cyber Monday. Make sure the customer experience is on point and that your site can handle the extra traffic.

To start, create a clear call out for discounted merchandise—don’t make your audience look for it, or they might abandon your site in search of better deals.

Then, make the checkout process as simple as possible by eliminating log-in requirements. The majority of online shoppers abandon their carts without completing a purchase, according to Baymard Institute. And more than a quarter of those who abandon do so because they are asked to create an account. Don’t lose out on sales just because you wanted to get a customer’s email; you’ll have plenty of opportunity to do that later on and can even include a prompt after check out.

Finally, boost your website’s performance so you don’t lose sales to technical errors. Customers new and old will leave your site if it’s taking too long to load, so make sure file sizes are as small as possible by following these site performance instructions from Webflow. You should also check in with your IT team to see if there’s anything you can do to prepare your website for increased traffic.

5. Be a friend to your customers.

2020 has been a tough year for everyone. Acknowledge the crisis, and exhibit empathy at every customer touchpoint. You should also allow your brand to be vulnerable. Lean into language like “We have extra stock,” and “Postcrisis pricing.”

And remember, consumers have gained new perspective in these hard times. Don’t expect customers to respond as positively to gift-giving or the perfect New Year’s Eve outfit as they have in past years. Practicality and self-care will go a lot further with customers than superficial traditions this year.

Ultimately, be human. It resonates.

Close out 2020 on a high note

If your business took a hit during the downturn, Cyber Monday is a great opportunity to get back on track.

Not every site visitor is going to make a purchase, but the shopping holiday will give you an opportunity to engage with customers and start a conversation going into the New Year. When Tuesday rolls around, follow up on abandoned carts, and keep incentivizing customers to convert.

Even if the holiday season has to be scaled back, there’s an opportunity to end this year on a high note. Please note: This blog is for informational purposes only. Be advised that sales tax rules and laws are subject to change at any time. For specific sales tax advice regarding your business, contact a tax advisor.

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