What is Cyber Monday, and What Can it Mean for Your Business?

Online Shopping Cyber Monday - Credit Card and Tablet

This morning, the Monday morning after Thanksgiving in the United States, is one of the least productive business mornings in America. Employees across the country (and even around the world) are pulling out their credit cards and giving their employers headaches as they complete their holiday shopping. In fact, you’ve probably even stumbled across this post accidentally looking for the best Cyber Monday deals. It’s okay; I don’t mind.

But what is Cyber Monday, and when did it become a major holiday in line with the other holidays of this season? Most importantly, what can Cyber Monday mean for your business? To find the answers, we’ll have to rewind the clock to 10 years ago.

The Origins of Cyber Monday

First, to understand why Cyber Monday was created, you must first understand Black Friday. In the United States, Thanksgiving marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Because the federal holiday falls on the final Thursday, most employers give their employees the following Friday off too. As a result, many retailers tried to take advantage of a large portion of employed customers being available at once by offering “One-Day only” sales to kick-start their holiday sales season.

Fast forward to 2005. With the explosion of the Internet and e-Commerce in the 90’s, some companies focused on an e-Commerce only model (like eBay and Amazon.) These businesses needed a similar jump-start to their holiday season but had to focus on a different day because most of their target audience would be away shopping on Black Friday.

That’s when the idea of “Cyber Monday” was created. The term was coined by the National Retail Federation as the e-Commerce answer to Black Friday, allowing shoppers to find the gifts they couldn’t get on Black Friday at deals they can only find online.

Probably most infuriating for businesses – Cyber Monday is designed specifically to target your employees while they are at work. Retailers know they will be at their computers.

The Growth of Cyber Monday

Since it was inception in 2005, Cyber Monday has grown exponentially. What began as a small sale with a handful of retailers turned into over $2 Billion in sales in 2014. This year is projected to be even bigger.

What it Means for Your Business

For many businesses, winter can be a slower time regarding sales. Utilizing a promotion like Cyber Monday can help you reach your end-of-year goals and give you a much-needed boost into the slower business season.

It may be too late to implement any promotion for your business this year but take a look around at what some of the biggest companies in the world are doing for inspiration for next year.

Some of the most inventive Cyber Monday deals I’ve seen have specifically targeted existing email lists, offering a discount on a product or service and subtly nudging the user to pass along the email as a form of referral. These “Secret Cyber Monday” sales bring high quality leads to businesses of all sizes, without risking the loss of a bunch of potential sales to new audiences.

Get Online and Shopping!

This Cyber Monday, take some time to shop for yourself or gifts for your family. Think of it as research. Maybe you can be inspired to find a way to leverage Cyber Monday to make winter 2016 your best winter ever.

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443.jpgAlex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

How Customer Photos Improve Mobile Shopping

Mobile commerce is expected to grow nearly 50% in the next four years.

But even with the rapid rate of tablet and smartphone technology, there are still many advantages of web over mobile for creating a seamless online shopping experience. This is strongly reflected in the still lagging mobile conversion and purchase rates—mobile’s conversion rate lags over 3.5x behind desktop. With consumers spending more and more of their online time on mobile, brands are turning to content generated by their customers to improve the mobile shopping performance.

Mobile commerce still lags significantly behind desktop when it comes to e-commerce.

  • Mobile conversion is generally terrible (0.6% conversion on smartphones in 2013 vs. 2.2% conversion on desktop)
  • Consumers rate mobile as the “most difficult” method for completing an online purchase compared to other purchasing channels
  • Customers rarely make purchases through mobile devices, and when they do, transactions made on mobile are on average much smaller.

Some reasons for mobile’s low reviews include:

  • Low bandwidth that limits photos and load times
  • Small screen that clutters and/or eliminates information
  • Difficulty in mobile app downloads

User-generated content from social media has become a valuable resource to combatting the mobile commerce chasm. For one, your customers are using social media on mobile (social media usage from mobile increased 23% in 2014.)  They are browsing and posting pictures across social channels on their mobile devices.  This means that when it comes to using their phones– your customers are mostly being exposed by content generated by their friends and/or influencers they follow. By displaying customer photos within native shopping apps and on mobile e-commerce websites, your brand can begin to bridge the customer experience gap between social media and mobile commerce.

So what are the general takeaways to why customer photos and social media content are so effective at improving the mobile shopping experience?

  1. Consumers are accustomed to seeing social photos from their mobile devices
  2. Integrating social content into mobile commerce helps connect the shopping experience to the larger consumer mobile behavior
  3. Customer photos are incredibly engaging and offer strong social proof of brands and products
  4. User-generated content is more engaging than custom or stock photography

Kenneth ColeCharlotte Russe

Kenneth Cole and Charlotte Russe place user-generated content on their mobile sites to enhance the customer shopping experience.

Social media plays a large role in improving the mobile experience and can be more than a channel for customer engagement. Customer photos can be leveraged to help personalize the mobile shopping experience and offer strong social proof of your brand and products. By integrating user-generated content into native apps and mobile web, your brand will begin to move the needle to drive higher mobile conversion rates and sales.


Kyle_Wong_PixleeKyle Wong is the CEO & Co-Founder of Pixlee, a SaaS platform that helps brands leverage customer photos to improve marketing. Kyle has been featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List and is a regular speaker and domain expert on influencer marketing and driving consumer engagement through social media.