By Rieva Lesonsky
This is the week most retail businesses eagerly anticipate all year long. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge shopping days for most Americans. And while small businesses benefit from increased attention on Small Business Saturday, do they reap the rewards from Black Friday and Cyber Monday as well?
We talked to Naama Bloom, VP of brand at zulily, a huge e-commerce company with $1.6 billion in revenues and 6.6 million customers. Many of zulily’s vendors are small businesses so Bloom has a lot of insight into how you can benefit from Cyber Monday.
Why should a small retailer pay attention to Cyber Monday?
Naama Bloom: Regardless of type of retail business or size of retailer you are, consumers are spending more time shopping during the week following Thanksgiving. What once was a call-to-action built around Black Friday, consumers now wait with anticipation to shop: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. These shopping holidays provide opportunities for brands to engage with current customers, reach new shoppers and grow their businesses. What makes our focus at zulily unique—where we launch hundreds of events with thousands of new products daily at up to 70% off—is that every day is Cyber Monday.
However, small businesses and retailers have a different opportunity to break through the clutter and let their unique product and value proposition shine. This is your opportunity to own emotive storytelling and focus more on creating a great experience, offering a clear value proposition and bringing products to life differently because your focus isn’t based on transactions, but on relationships.
Is it too late to prepare for Cyber Monday?
Bloom: No, it’s not too late to take advantage of an online shopping milestone. The magic of e-commerce is that you can make instant micro-shifts in the way you market and offer up products, learn in real time, be agile and ultimately, influence buying behavior.
In addition, smaller retailers have access to so many “free” ways to connect and reach consumers instantly. Leverage free channels always, but especially when trying to break through during a competitive week of shopping holidays. From video storytelling, to Instagram (TV, Stories) as well as Facebook Live and more, the opportunity to create a compelling story around your business and bring them to life to reach a larger audience are limitless. The benefit of social content is it’s ephemeral, which means there’s always an opportunity to impact and change your brands marketing in real time.
What can a small retailer do to make the most of Cyber Monday?
Bloom: As an online retailer, zulily works with both large national brands and smaller retailers. What we see work with more up-and-coming brands that run on zulily is leaning into offering highly-curated, fun and entertaining shopping experiences while also demonstrating why our brands’ merchandise is a great deal and bragworthy. For example, instead of serving up hundreds of choices in dishware, why not create a page around “Holiday Entertaining” by room, theme, age, etc. There are so many different ways to curate merchandise, market and tell a story, by helping a customer imagine how a brands’ products would fit in their life.
What are the watch-outs for a small retailer around Cyber Monday?
Bloom: One of the easiest and “free” ways to set yourself up for success on Cyber Monday or other shopping holidays is by cultivating a strong organic social media presence.
Investing in channels like Instagram and Facebook is a low-cost way for up-and-coming e-commerce brands to really stand out during the holiday shopping season. You’ll also score authenticity points with consumers who want to connect with products they can see and engage with before they’re on their doorsteps. Plus, that content doesn’t have to take graphic designers to create: your mobile phone comes with a high-quality camera that can capture imagery and video that can show off merchandise and provide a glimpse into the inner workings of your team and company.