Are You Ready for Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, is arguably the most important day of the year for online retailers. In fact, Cyber Monday 2016 was the biggest online shopping day in history, generating $3.45 billion in sales. And 2017 is gearing up to be even bigger yet.

Consumers are more opportunistic than any other time of the year on Cyber Monday — they’ll take advantage of the best deal they can find to get the products they need before their holiday deadlines for gift giving. And they can do this all in a matter of minutes without leaving their couches. That means as a retailer, you need to adjust your strategies to gain a competitive edge and maximize sales.

The secret lies with expanded product assortment. At the end of the day, you need to offer customers what they want. If a customer is visiting a retail site looking for TVs, but a competing retailer is offering a wider selection, why would he or she remain loyal to your site? Especially if the deals are relatively the same from retailer to retailer.

Walmart found success with this approach last year. The retail giant attributed its rapid online sales growth in 2016 (eCommerce now represents 20 percent of all of Walmart’s sales) to its wide product selection. Knowing this, the company tripled its inventory before Cyber Monday in an attempt to maximize sales and compete with Amazon.

But unfortunately, not all retailers have the resources to compete with Walmart and Amazon. That’s why many have turned to drop shipping to enable rapid product assortment growth at a relatively low cost.

Expand assortment ahead of Cyber Monday with drop shipping
Drop shipping works by skipping the middleman. A retailer lists a supplier’s products on its site, but the supplier or brand is responsible for directly shipping the products to end customers.

The strategy is great for for rapidly expanding product assortment ahead of Cyber Monday while avoiding the risks involved with upfront inventory investment. You can expand assortments within any product category virtually, without purchasing the inventory upfront.

But while it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to add products, you shouldn’t dive in without a strategy in mind. Work with your current supplier partners to add products that are selling well with competing retailers rather than adding SKUs at random. Not only is it time consuming to manually search through SKUs to add to your site, but the wrong products can also confuse customers.

For example, if you’re a clothing retailer it probably doesn’t make sense to add curtains to your online inventory. But you should add the jacket that’s flying off the shelves with your biggest competitor.

Many retailers also monitor social media to determine which SKUs to add to their eCommerce sites. Your customers are essentially showing you which products they want to buy on sites like Instagram and Pinterest. Pay attention to the content they post and engage with, and expand products accordingly.

But even with the right strategies in place for expanding assortment, rapidly adding SKUs is only possible with tools like CommerceHub. CommerceHub connects you with a network of suppliers to easily pick and choose SKUs to add to online inventories. And it gives you a 360 view into the shipment process to ensure your customers receive orders within their expected timeframes.

As Cyber Monday quickly approaches, learn more about CommerceHub’s drop shipping tools for retailers today.