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If you’ve got an online store, you know that Cyber Monday 2018 is a big deal. But with big online retailers offering steep discounts on hot ticket items, how are you going to stand out?

Cyber Monday 2018 is a great opportunity for online stores small and large to shine. It’s that time of year when we talk about gratitude and hard work paying off. So, why not pay it forward and start the holiday shopping season off with a bang? Today, we’re going to talk about everything you need to get ready for a doorbuster Cyber Monday.

The Ultimate Checklist to Prepare Your Store for Cyber Monday 2018
1. Update Your Online Store
2. Consider Your Inventory
3. Consider Adding More Gift Products
4. Decide What Your Cyber Monday Deals Will Be
5. Send Some Convincing, Killer Emails
6. Spread the Word on Social Media
7. Check In on the Big Day
8. Keep the Ball Rolling

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1. Update Your Online Store

Whether you’ve been in business for a few months or a few years, preparing for Cyber Monday is the perfect time to evaluate your store. Remember that your store isn’t just designed to bring in customers- it’s also built to carry them through the buying process. Bring in a friend or two for a helpful outside perspective. Have them explore your site, test-buy a product, and tell you about their experience. Then, optimize your online store.

Ask yourself: is your site easy to navigate? Are the product descriptions compelling? Do you need more product photos? Do the categories you’ve set up organize your items in a logical manner?

Just a few simple tweaks can make all the difference in your shoppers’ experience and conversions. Test buy a product or two yourself once you’ve made the changes. By finding any potential friction in the buying process now, you can save your customers a lot of hassle later, and increase your bottom line. Get your whole online store in tip top shape for your upcoming big sale.

2. Consider Your Inventory

Take stock of what you have. Look at what items tend to sell best and make sure you have enough. Powerful ecommerce platforms like Selz let you set inventory limits on items so that you don’t sell more products than you have in stock. Go ahead and make sure your inventory limits are set on all items going into Cyber Monday, to prevent fulfillment issues. Consider advertising a limited amount of certain items- i.e. only ten in stock. The sense of urgency can be a great tool for increasing sales.

Inventory is especially relevant if you sell made-to-order jewelry, prints, or clothing items. If you’re a digital entrepreneur, this won’t affect you as much.

3. Consider Adding More Gift Products

No matter what you sell in your online store, you can certainly benefit from adding holiday gift items. Whether it’s an on-brand essential oil blend, or a luxurious knit throw, adding even a single bestselling holiday product to your shop can dramatically boost your Cyber Monday sales.

Even if customers come to your online store for staple products, they are more likely to spend a little extra money on Cyber Monday, so having great gifts products is a sure way to increase shoppers’ totals. New products generate excitement, and the right ones can carry you through the holiday season with sky-high profit margins. New additions to your inventory are also a great way to entice previous customers back for repeat business.

4. Decide What Your Cyber Monday Deals Will Be

Before you decide what type of discounts to offer, reflect on your inventory. If you have a lot of certain products and want to clear them out, consider offering Buy One, Get One Free or Half Price on those products. If you have clearance items, you could provide customers with a code to take an additional discount off these items.

Perhaps you want to offer BOGO on a whole category or even site-wide. Maybe, you would rather offer a store-wide, specific percentage off of all products. You could even create new “bundled” products, which are two or three related items, bundled together as one for a lower price than if they were purchased separately.

5. Generate Enthusiasm with Your Newsletter

Big sales are like holiday parties: you’ve got to let people know in advance. This is especially true for Black Friday and Cyber Monday because, in the US, this is already a pretty busy time for people. Cooking, decorating, traveling, and family events are all-consuming, and squeezing all of that in around work means that many people are checking their inboxes less often.

So when is the right time to send that first email? One to two weeks before Cyber Monday is ideal. Remember, you’re always going to have a higher open rate on a weekday, so plan accordingly. It may seem a little far out, but your main goal here is to get your online store’s Cyber Monday sale on your customers’ radar early. Remember- you’re competing with holiday planning, family in town, upcoming travel, and more.

After your initial announcement, you can send more emails to count down to the big sale. Even though your customers will be very busy before the holiday, consider incorporating follow-up messaging about your sale into a Thanksgiving newsletter, and a “get ready” message the weekend before Cyber Monday. Be sure to send one early on Cyber Monday as well, to announce that the sale has begun.

6. Spread the Word on Social Media

Email marketing isn’t the only way to get the word out. Be sure to use social media to spread the word about your sale. Social media tends to get more visibility than email, even if an algorithm doesn’t show all your posts. Because of this, you should announce the sale closer to Cyber Monday itself, reminding people as it gets closer and when it arrives. Just be sure to balance out sale announcements with other content. It can be a turn-off for your audience when your content revolves entirely around driving traffic to your store.

Do a little hashtag research, and use relevant hashtags to reach an audience who may not see your social content otherwise. This may help you to broaden your audience, and hopefully, increase followers and site traffic on the big day.

Consider whipping up a few seasonal graphics to announce the upcoming sale. You don’t have to be a graphic design pro. Free tools like Canva provide you with templates for your announcement that you can customize in no time.

7. Check In On the Big Day

Even with the best-laid plans, most organized inventory, and descriptive copy, customers are bound to have questions on the big shopping day. Be sure to make yourself available to respond to queries and keep an eye on sales. Keep an eye out for customers Tweeting at you. If you sell on social media, use the Selz Facebook chat tool to answer questions.

Most shoppers don’t expect quick responses on a big, busy sale day. Show them how your business is different by being ready to respond in a friendly, helpful manner.

8. Keep the Ball Rolling

Hopefully, your Cyber Monday will be a huge success, with happy customers and big profits. However, don’t kick your feet up just yet. By driving traffic to your online store on this very busy shopping day, you’ve planted the seed for increased sales throughout the holiday season.

Consider sending follow-up emails that emphasize how many days are left until Christmas, offer free shipping for a short window as the holiday approaches, or share a gift guide blog post highlighting your products. It’s important to stay connected with your customers. If you use this holiday season to reach new heights for your business, you’re bound to develop strong brand loyalty that will carry you into the next year and beyond.

Bonus: Build Your Mailing List and Increase Conversions on Cyber Monday

Remember that repeat customers are the lifeblood of any business. Want to improve your retention rate? Create a special opt-in lead magnet for new customers on Cyber Monday. Most email marketing services will provide you with a pop-up or banner lead magnet. You can entice customers to sign up for emails with the promise of an additional discount.

This will be most effective if it’s one day only; lasting only for the duration of Cyber Monday. Create a sense of urgency for new customers. This is their only chance to get such a good deal in your store. Limited time offers are a highly effective tool to increase conversions from new customers, and build your mailing list at the same time.

Cyber Monday isn’t just a great day to drive sales. It’s an opportunity to put your best foot forward and connect with customers old and new. This checklist will help you prepare for a successful Cyber Monday, and set up your online store for a busy holiday season.

Want to kick off online selling to supplement your thriving holiday business sales? Try a free 14-day trial with Selz, the Ecommerce platform for growing businesses.

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About the author

Tara Storozynsky

Tara lives in Portland, Oregon. She writes about the intersection of creativity and entrepreneurship, after a decade of working in the food, tech, and wellness industries. Her work has been featured by American Artists Watercolor Magazine,, and others. Aside from writing content and copy, Tara is also a social media strategist.


  1. Donna

    Do you think it has to be a really big sale? I always think of black friday and cyber monday like that, but i’d rather just do a smaller discount.

    1. Tara Storozynsky

      Don’t feel pressured to match the sales of major online retailers. Small businesses and entrepreneurs need to be careful not to undervalue their products. It’s your store, it’s your sale! Anything over ten percent is sure to entice shoppers, but also remember that you can make your cyber monday 2018 sale work for you, by specifically clearing out excess inventory.

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