Is Cyber Monday Killing Your Holiday Sales?

The U.S. marketing scheme takes root in Canada, forcing local retailers to fight even harder for Canadian holiday spending dollars

Written by Mira Shenker

Invented in the U.S. as a way to extend the Black Friday madness, Cyber Monday lets online shoppers enjoy similar discounts to those they’d get at a bricks-and-mortar shop on the Friday (without the risk of getting trampled).

The concept really took off in Canada last year and has shown no signs of stopping this year. According to a survey Ipsos Reid conducted on behalf of PayPal Canada, 52% of Canadians are now aware of Cyber Monday, up from from 24% in 2010. And PayPal data shows that this growing awareness is translating into changing shopping habits, with more Canadians doing their holiday-season shopping online than ever before.

Good news for Canadian retailers? Not necessarily. That’s because a lot of these Cyber Monday sales are going across the border. “Savvy Canadian shoppers know you no longer have to drive across the border and survive the mayhem of Black Friday to get the best deals on gifts this holiday season,” confirms Nicky Mezo, head of marketing, PayPal Canada. If Canadian shoppers can get good deals from U.S. retailers without leaving their homes, why wouldn’t they?

Not all Canadian retailers are sitting idly by and letting business go to their competitors (or their parent companies) in the U.S. According to PayPal, a few large Canadian retailers are adjusting their e-commerce strategies to capture more of Canada’s holiday spending dollars. Chains like Toys “R” Us Canada, Sport Chek and The Home Depot Canada are planning special promotions to attract Canadian Cyber Monday shoppers.

Where does this all leave smaller chains or independents? Not in as bad a spot as you’d think, thanks to technological advances that level the playing field in a way that wouldn’t have been possible even a few years ago. Across Canada, scores of small- and mid-sized retailers are running special promotions today through social-media platforms, through daily-deal sites or online marketplaces (such as Shopcaster) and through good old-fashioned promos sent through mailing lists.

Worried your message will get lost in the clutter? Not to worry; there’s help available. Pay attention to what makes people open emails (and what makes people trash ’em). Make sure your marketing is actually appropriate for the online realm (something SMEs often struggle to do). Curate offers you know your clientele will love. Treat social media with the same rigour and respect as the big brands do—not as an afterthought.

Above all else, make sure whatever you’re offering is something you can actually afford to deliver. If you’re losing money on a promo (and not making up for it with other sales and/or exposure to new customers), you may want to call into question whether Cyber Monday deals are really worth your time and effort.

Have you done anything to promote your online shop this Cyber Monday? We want to hear about it. Leave your comments below.


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