If you’re a Canadian e-commerce retailer and you’re not holding a Cyber Monday sale next week, you’re losing money.
That’s according to Geoff Henshaw, Canada country manager for ClearlyContacts.ca. Based in Vancouver, the company sells eyewear products online and will hold its fourth Cyber Monday sale this year (lasting all week, in fact). The phenomenon originated in the U.S., with Black Friday (coming after their Thanksgiving holiday) emerging as a day of major sales for retailers and discounts for shoppers, signaling the unofficial launch of the Christmas buying season. Cyber Monday has emerged as the online shopping counterpart to Black Friday.
Cyber Monday probably came to Canada because, as Henshaw notes, e-commerce is obviously a borderless industry. People will go where the sales are, which is one reason why the company launched its first Cyber Monday sale four years ago.
“Initially, when we took part I wouldn’t say a lot of e-commerce retailers were participating, but now participation is pretty well mandatory,” said Henshaw. “If a retailer is not participating they can expect to lose sales. There is definitely an expectation now from our Canadian customers.”
ClearlyContacts.ca initially dipped its toe gingerly into the Cyber Monday pool, not sure what the response would be from Canadian consumers. It initially ran a one day promotion, and saw solid sales. Now it has evolved into a week-long promotion and one of their strongest sales seasons of the year. He’s expecting a 50 per cent increase in web site traffic over an average Monday, and sustained traffic volume throughout the week.
“It’s a different kind of customer behavior. They’re adding incremental spend, versus the typical day to day shopping,” said Henshaw. “People are out shopping specifically for deals.”
As a veteran of the Cyber Monday e-tail wars, Henshaw said ClearlyContacts.ca can offer three pieces of advice for fellow Canadian e-tailers:
Know your competitors: Know what your competitors may be planning for the week, as you don’t want to get scooped.
Manage expectations: Know what your customers are looking for from the sale, so you can make sure that you give it to them.
Be ready: Make sure you have your technical systems lined-up and ready to go with sufficient capacity to handle an influx of customers, from your servers to your call centre.