The Small Business Cyber Monday Survival Guide

Avoid Web Scams When You Give
November 14, 2012
Run, Don’t Walk, to the Mobile Web Wonderland
November 29, 2012

Next week marks the eighth anniversary of “Cyber Monday,” an online retailing phenomenon that’s grown to over $1.25 billion in sales. This year that figure is expected to climb to $2 billion. No matter your attitude or expectations, your small business needs to prepare to meet this event head on.

Here are tips to maximize your return as an online store:

  • Make sure your webstore can handle an upsurge in traffic. Contact your hosting provider to find out how much bandwidth you’re paying for, and what you can do to make the day go smoothly on the network side of things.
  • Know who to call if things go wrong. Have tech support numbers and email addresses on hand, and know exactly who you need to contact for what problem.
  • Go through a test run of the store prior to Monday to make sure everything works correctly. Check that all product images and descriptions are both current and correct. Be ready to respond quickly to customer help requests.

What about those of you just trying to survive the day?

  • Review your policy on personal web usage with employees. If you don’t have a policy (and you really should), address the specific issue of Cyber Monday with everyone. Be willing to listen to concerns, but also provide firm guidance on the exceptions your business has for the day.
  • If you use any kind of web filtering software (and, again, you really should), make sure it’s operating correctly. Consider adding new addresses to your blacklist if you’re worried about too much time spent at any one website (*cough* Amazon *cough*).
  • Prep your network for increased usage even after reviewing your policy and filtering options: chances are there will still be some shopping done that day (illicit or otherwise). Also review phishing scams with employees: lots of juicy little emails are sent out this time of year, and you don’t want your business on the hook.
  • Even without a store your website could see an uptake in traffic: make sure your hosting can handle that kind of surge, and consider what you can do to earn some goodwill from people who might otherwise never visit your website.

Finally, don’t forget to look into whether your business should do some shopping of its own. Electronics and office supplies are major sales items, and there’s always the company Christmas party to think about.

Here are some more tips from our partners:

  • Is Your Website Holiday-Ready? Load Test and Be Sure (Neustar)
  • Numbers Speak: Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday & Cloud Trends (Rackspace)
  • Black Friday: 5 Tips to Stay Safe this Holiday Season (GFI)
  • Black Friday: Proof That Ecommerce Uptime Truly Affects The Bottom Line (Dyn)
  • Approaching Holidays Bring “12 Scams of Christmas” (McAfee)

Have experience weathering the holiday sales season? Share your tips with us on Twitter (@CiiTechSolution), Facebook (facebook.com/CiiTechSolutions), or in the comments below.