This year, the busiest day for online shopping will fall on the 1st December according to online giant Amazon. The day, known as Cyber Monday in the UK, will see retailers offering discounts and promotions to increase their share of online sales, yet how should retailers be gearing up for this to maximise potential and stand out from the competition?

The answer is simple – in contradiction to the name, retailers shouldn’t neglect their physical stores but focus on omnichanel comms to maximise sales.

Take click and collect for example – a must for online and in-store retailers over the Christmas period.

By integrating back end systems for merchandising, and in store technologies, companies can maximise cross sells across all channels. A content management and merchandising platform can automate cross sell opportunities online, whilst iBeacon integrated with digital signage can maximise in store sales.

Click and collect data gives a retailer in-depth knowledge of customer buying behavior in that they know exactly what customers are coming in to collect. By implementing in-store technologies such as iBeacon and digital signage it would allow retailers to know when someone has come into the store to collect their order, and change signage in real time to promote cross sells.

In the lead up to Cyber Monday, retailers can promote online offers within the store by using digital signage at point of sale. And why not tap into social channels by providing social media followers with an exclusive discount code with a limited shelf life? By advertising a social media promo campaign in-store, it opens up a previously untapped social market.

Also, when considering delivery and returns, why should customers be able to collect from stores when they order online, but not return to stores? Offering an incentive on returns can be more profitable than free delivery. It might not have the same impact on top line sales, but often results in higher profit as free delivery reduces product margins on every online order. Free returns is an alternative, more cost effective incentive when showcased in the correct way.

Pre planning for Cyber Monday is a given but retailers cannot anticipate external influences that far in advance and they need to use online and in-store promotions to even out stock levels. Retailers can use online promotions and digital signage to push products in-store if they find they have an abundance of stock and vice versa, yet this has to be done in real time to be effective. Just look at what the mild weather did for the sale of new season products when winter stock arrived in stores.

Last year, more than 4.1 million items were ordered through Amazon on Cyber Monday, at a rate of around 47 items per second, with sales reaching their peak at 9.22 pm.

During its busiest trading day of 2013, delivery lorries left the retailer’s fulfilment centres on average every 93 seconds.

Retailers have to be prepared, with contingency plans in place to ensure they can satisfy demand and deliver on orders.

Published on: 11:18AM on 17th November 2014